Thursday, 15 April 2010

Restorative Justice ???

The Labour Party manifesto promises a "Restorative Justice Act" but, unfortunately, does not provide us with any detailed proposals.

Where ‘traditional justice’ is about punishing offenders for committing offences against the state, restorative justice is about offenders making amends directly to the people or organisations they have harmed.  The emphasis is therefore on repairing harm caused by crime.  It is claimed that restorative justice:
  • gives victims a greater voice in the criminal justice system
  • allows victims to receive an explanation and more meaningful reparation from offenders
  • makes offenders accountable by allowing them to take responsibility for their actions
  • builds community confidence that offenders are making amends for their wrong doing.
Is this an idea worth pursuing?  Here is the Home Office viewpoint.  See also Restorative Justice.  Some people will probably dismiss this out of hand as yet another criminal justice gimmick which amounts to going soft on criminals.  However, before doing so, it is worth noting that RJ is succesfully used in many countries.  As an example, see how well developed RJ is in New Zealand and also see Restorative Justice Online.

1 comment:

  1. It might be worth pursuing if its intention is genuinely to improve the justice system. I have no confidence that improved justice is the primary motive of the UK Government - it sounds to much like avioding spend on more prison places. "Criminal Justice on the Cheap".

    This government has had 13 years to bring about this kind of reform, why now? when the prisons are full and the purse is empty?