Restorative justice is a system of justice where the wrongdoer is made to pay and repair for the damage and harm he/she caused. It allows the parties involved to identify and address the crime caused and the way forward. It is a system that is based on understanding the effect of crime and the relationship between the involved parties. However, it has various pros and cons.
Pros of Restorative Justice
1. Reduce reoffending: This justice system is capable of reducing the occurrences of crimes. This is because it makes offenders responsible for their actions, and thus, they face the consequences. Therefore, the offenders will avoid future actions and thus reducing the rate of crime in society.
2. Reduce victims-related symptoms: Victims of the crimes are always prone to symptoms and diseases like stress, anxiety, depression, etc. Restorative justice ensures all these symptoms are avoided as it brings all the involved parties together, and a strategy is laid down to counter the occurrence of another crime. Also, fear which is the main cause of these symptoms, is minimized.
3. Repossession of things and goods: Unlike other judicial systems where the repossession of goods in the matter is not valued and possessing them back may not be possible, things are different in the restorative justice system. The victims can get their possession back in case of robbery, and in case intangible goods, money is used as the means of repayment.
4. Forgiveness is the main agenda: With Restorative Justice, it is prettier to put past behind. In most cases, this system is applied where the offender and the victim live in the village or community, and therefore it can help to resolve the issue and help both the victim and offender to put the past behind them and live together in harmony.
5. Reduction of Disciplinary Actions: The main benefit of this system is that it can reduce some of the disciplinary actions against the victims. For example, the victim is not jailed, but in turn, he/she is made to pay for the loss and dame caused. This also helps to control the number of people in prison to a manageable number.
6. Cost-effective: Unlike the judicial system, Restorative justice is a cost-effective and affordable process. The government (judicial system) is not involved in the solving of the problem. Thus the offenders and victims do not spend much on the process of solving the case.
7. Increased communication: Unlike other judicial systems, restorative justice ensures an open and real-time conversation between the involved parties. This helps arrive at a well-defined decision and gives both the offender and victim a chance to express themselves, ask questions and suggest the next move. Therefore, a well-understood ruling is made.
8. Accountability: When the court process is involved, stigmatization and corruption may occur, thus not making the offenders accountable for their actions. However, in restorative justice, the offender is accountable for his/her actions and has to pay for them.
9. More satisfaction: Since both the victim and offender are directly involved in the ruling process, the final decision is more satisfactory compared to when other methods are used. This minimizes the desire to revenge.
10. Compliments to other methods of ruling: This technique of solving cases can easily complement other methods of ruling if demanded. This makes it unique from other ruling methods that are limited to one method only.
Cons of Restorative Justice
1. It is limited: Restorative justice is not a global solution. This is because not all victims trust the system; many go for the court process. Also, many offenders are not ready to admit their crimes, and therefore, it cannot be used to solve the case.
2. May give birth to other crimes: Restorative justice is applicable where both parties, i.e., victim and offender, are physically present. The victim may take advantage of this weakness and gang up on the offender, thus adding another case to the existing ones.
3. Cannot be used to curb future crimes: Due to the nature of this system, it is only used to solve and restore peace to the already existing crimes but cannot be used to prevent future occurrences of that crime.
4. Does not decrease recidivism rates: Offenders involved in this system are likely to commit new crimes. This is so because no harsh punishment is allocated to offenders. This motivates them to commit other crimes.
5. No confidentiality: In restorative justice, there is increased communication between the involved parties; the communication might breach secret crimes like rape, and sexual assault as the outcome, and how the crime happed should be explained.
6. Increased fear and anxiety: During problem-solving, both the victim and the offender can communicate about the crime. However, when a violent crime is the subject matter, encouraged conversation may make the victim feel helpless and initiate fear and anxiety.
7. No sincerity: In some cases, the victims are not located in the same geographical area, and therefore computers are involved in enhancing communication. When restorative justice is conducted online, talking to someone through a computer may hinder sincerity. The absence of sincerity hinders the ruling and thus making this method ineffective.
8. Challenge of participation: For the restorative justice system to work effectively, both parties must be willing to participate without being forced. However, this may not be the case as one of the involved parties may fail to participate fully, thus hindering the ruling process.
9. Reliving trauma and anger: Restorative justice technique requires all the involved parties to be present during the ruling. The victim is made to face the offender who wronged him/her, and this can relieve the trauma and anger as the victim remembers what happened. Also, it may cause a fight between the two parties.
Additionally, restorative justice is a good problem-solving procedure as it allows the offenders to amend any harm caused.