Question: Is there a position within contemporary santions for Restorative Justice and Mediation? If so, where is it and where can it be effectively utilised?

Essay by egr103University, Bachelor'sB, May 2006

download word file, 9 pages 3.8

Restorative justice (RJ) is a valued-based approach to act in response to unlawful activity and conflict, with equal focus on the offender, victim, and community. Restorative justice focuses on making good the wrongdoing by healing the harm, predominantly to relationships between individuals that is created by harmful behaviour. The primary stakeholders in restorative justice processes are the person(s) who effected the harm (offender), the person(s) harmed (victim), and the affected community (Cavanagh, 2000). Restorative Justice is often said to be a paradigm shift of real significance due to its main principal of putting the victim rather than the state at the forefront of the judicial process. This type of justice is of great contrast compared to the retributive justice now chiefly used in the criminal justice system in England and Wales, which asserts that crime harms the state, and that the state must react by punishing the offender. Recent legislation in England and Wales has now paved the way for change; after two decades of restorative justice research programmes the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 ordered that from June 2000, Youth Offending Teams would officiate Reparation Orders issued to young offenders to repair the harm they've caused to their victims, or if the victims do not want to get involved, to benefit the community, for example repairing property, removing graffiti (Graef, 2000).

Recent evidence has shown that the Reparation Order has yielded the lowest reconviction rate for a non-custodial court disposal for juvenile males with a rate of 51.2% (Home Office, 2003). Due to this new piece of legislation restorative justice is also becoming more common at all stages of the adult CJS from 'Caution Plus' schemes, mediation, direct reparation (apology/practical work) through to arrangements for serious offenders in custody which will all be discussed further.

The Reparation Order...