Overview of Restorative Justice

Personalizing Crime

Marty Price introduces the challenges with the criminal justice programs in the United States, that are the same today as they were in 2001 when he wrote this piece. Price, the founder and director of the Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program, explains in a straightforward manner why restorative justice would be a good method to try. He teaches restorative justice practices around the world, and is a consultant and trainer for various mediation programs across the Americas. The article begins with information about retributive justice, a concept that is “offender centered” with little victim involvement. Price goes on to compare retributive justice and restorative justice, mentioning that restorative justice focuses on healing rather than punishment. In restorative justice, the victims are able to ask the offenders questions such as, “Why did you do this to me? Was this my fault? Could I have prevented this?” This leads not only to a healing process, but also to forgiveness.

Price, Marty. “Personalizing Crime.” Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program. Charlotte, NC, 2001. Web. June 2014. <http://www.vorp.com/articles/justice.html>.

 

The Little Book of Restorative Justice (p. 6-11, 20-23, 40-44, 49-53, 59-70)

This book is an important block in the foundation of restorative justice because the author Howard Zehr, who is often considered “the pioneer” of restorative justice, provides a starting point for understanding the complexities of restorative justice. This version of the publication has additional commentary from Ali Gohar, a friend of Zehr and fellow pioneer. Gohar saw similarities between restorative justice and some of the practices from his homeland, and wanted to add information for the Pakistani-Afghan audience. Although the entire book is fascinating, certain pages have been highlighted. On pages 6-11, Zehr introduces the modern restorative justice movement and its definition. Pages 49-53 explain the different methods of restorative justice, including restorative circles, family meetings, and victim-offender mediation. In the final chapter of the book, which begins on page 59, Zehr goes deeper into the retributive justice v. restorative justice debate. Overall, the book thoroughly and accurately depicts the modern restorative justice movement and the problems it can potentially solve.

Zehr, Howard and Ali Gohar. The Little Book of Restorative Justice. Pakistan: October 2003. p. 6-11, 20-23, 40-44, 49-53, 59-70. Web. June 2014. <http://www.unicef.org/tdad/littlebookrjpakaf.pdf>.

 

An overview of restorative justice around the world (p. 2-4, 9-16)

Daniel W. Van Ness wrote this article while working at Prison Fellowship International (PFI) in 2005. PFI is a group that is made up of volunteers who provide support for those who have been hindered by prison systems around the world. Van Ness wrote this article to inform the public about restorative justice practices worldwide. On pages 2-4, he describes restorative conferences and circles utilized by indigenous people in different parts of the world, which leads to his central argument that restorative practices can be used anywhere. The essential portion of this article appears on pages 9-16, where Van Ness talks about various examples of restorative justice. He highlights the Young Persons and Their Families Act of 1989, which was implemented in New Zealand to help keep youth out of the court system. This process allows youth to face their actions and stay on a focused path—something that the court system could potentially take away from them.

Van Ness, Daniel W. “An overview of restorative justice around the world.” Washington, DC: Centre for Justice & Reconciliation at Prison Fellowship International, 22 April 2005. (p. 2-4, 9-16). Web. July 2014. <https://assets.justice.vic.gov.au/njc/resources/c4518c8a-c200-4623-afd1-42e255b62cf9/01+an+overview+of+restorative+justice.pdf>.

 

Restorative Justice: Save the Prisoners, Save the Neighborhood

This is a close-to-home, opinionated answer to the questions, “What is restorative justice and why should it be utilized?” Jenkins defines restorative justice in her article by looking at the purpose of prison, and concludes that restorative methods are better for the community as a whole. Jenkins herself has taught in the Los Angeles Unified School District for over 40 years, and is a self-proclaimed Democratic activist. Her exploration of the California prison system led to her discovery of the abuse that inmates are subjected to on a daily basis. She concluded from her research that a prevalent result of the current prison system is recidivism, a relapse into criminal behavior after justice has been served for a previous crime. Jenkins calls attention to the fact that former prisoners also do not have the right to vote. Ultimately, she believes in the importance of reintegrating former prisoners into society. Overall, the article provides positive information about restorative justice, but mainly focuses on introducing the topic and explaining why it could be useful.

Jenkins, Rosemary. “Restorative Justice: Save the Prisoners, Save the Neighborhood.” CityWatch. Los Angeles, California: 15 July 2014. Web. 17 July 2014. <http://www.citywatchla.com/lead-stories-hidden/7202-restorative-justice-save-the-prisoners-save-the-neighborhood>.

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