Many leaders and policymakers in the United States acknowledge that the country’s criminal justice system faces numerous challenges, including mass incarceration, erroneous incarcerations, racial disparities throughout the process, the school-to-prison pipeline, and increased recidivism rates. Members of the public are worried since the existing zero-tolerance programs and retributive sentencing have triggered numerous problems in this country.
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Such developments have compelled American citizens, politicians, and human rights coalitions to offer evidence-based measures to transform the situation. The purpose of this paper is to present, define, and propose restorative justice as the best model for addressing the challenges affecting the effectiveness of the United States’ criminal justice process.
The gaps associated with the United States’ criminal justice and judicial systems have led to superior concepts for addressing the problems of crime. The term “restorative justice” refers to an evidence-based model that focuses on the most appropriate initiatives to rehabilitate and empower offenders and make them successful members of society (Pavelka, 2016). This initiative is achievable through constant reconciliation with the identified victims and all other community members. The guiding aspects of restorative justice have managed to deliver desirable results in different working environments and learning institutions in the United States.
Restorative justice takes a simple approach to initiate or implement. Those involved will arrange for a conference whereby the offender and victim meet regularly. Letters and videos are resourceful when such individuals are unable to interact. Since each society has its unique expectations, norms, and challenges, the model creates the best opportunity for providing culturally sensitive and personalized services to all stakeholders (Wood, 2015). Such a model can deliver better results since all persons will feel confident, engaged, empowered, and comfortable.
The proposed option is informed by this principle: crime is capable of harming human beings and any form of justice should be aimed at repairing this kind of injury (Curtis, 2016). Another guideline is that all persons affected by different offenses should be part of the resolution process. A neutral venue is essential to facilitate forgiveness and make it possible for the facilitator to record positive results. From this analysis, it is evident that implementing restorative justice supports a deviation from the standard procedures of the criminal justice system (Karp & Frank, 2016). This initiative will empower more people and societies, thereby making it possible for them to overcome most of the above challenges affecting different citizens.
Proposed Implementation Method
Participants and stakeholders can consider various approaches to implement restorative justice in their respective regions. Some of them include community engagement, promotion and presentation of superior guidelines, the involvement of judicial services and experts, and consideration of cultural aspects. This section identifies the most appropriate strategy that is capable of making this practice part of the judicial system (Beckett & Kartman, 2016). This initiative follows four key steps that are applicable and evidence-based.
The first one is to formulate guidelines for empowering facilitators and monitoring offenders. Such attributes will be presented to become part of the entire system. The second phase is building capacity through continuous training (Beckett & Kartman, 2016). This should be done locally or nationally depending on the targeted region. The third stage is ensuring that all stakeholders are aware of the nature and importance of restorative justice (Pavelka, 2016). The last step is to implement the proposed concept of restorative justice and meet the expectations of the greatest number of community members and offenders.
Supporting Restorative Justice: Conceptual Framework
Sociologists propose or use various theories and ideologies to explain why communities should function efficiently, create the best environment for empowering all citizens, and address challenges that might emerge. Experts in this field have gone to consider the current relationships existing between the state and its citizens and the relevance of creating policies that can serve people instead of victimizing them (Pavelka, 2016).
Although no standard or recognizable theory is describing the relevance of restorative justice, sociologists focus on various societal problems and propose strategies that can improve people’s lives and experiences.
The traditions of criminal justice have informed the current direction or movement towards restorative justice. For example, Karp and Frank (2016) indicate that this practice is a response to “acts of genocide, gross violations of human rights, transitional justice in post-conflict societies, and the repairing of historical injustices such as slavery” (p. 51). This assertion explains why there is a need for populations and countries to embrace the power of restorative justice. Such an initiative will ensure that citizens who have faced discrimination within the criminal justice system record positive experiences or outcomes.
Within the past two decades, learning institutions and workplaces have benefited from this idea of restorative justice. Many students and employees have managed to address specific issues and challenges affecting them. They have also presented superior solutions to most of the problems affecting performance (Beckett & Kartman, 2016). Using this knowledge, some sociologists have indicated that restorative justice is applicable in the wider criminal justice system to meet the needs of more people and make it easier for them to achieve their goals in life.
Different scholars in the field of criminology present evidence-based guidelines to ensure that the United States reform their policies aimed at providing judicial services to different citizens. Both left and right wings continue to propose similar ideas since they are capable of minimizing all forms of discrimination. They can also deal with the predicament of crime and do away with punitive measures associated with the current criminal justice system (Karp & Frank, 2016). Consequently, more Americans will achieve their potential and eventually lead high-quality lives.
The restorative justice movement has become a superior model for the United States to record evidence-based practices and eventually create a new model for tackling crime. In different states, legislators and administrators have proposed new approaches for pursuing juvenile justice goals or agendas (Beckett & Kartman, 2016). Such initiatives revolve around the implementation of restorative policies.
Consequently, it has been possible for government agencies to balance the unique needs of all offenders, community members, and victims. Such measures continue to address the gaps catalyzed by wrongdoings and delinquent acts (Karp & Frank, 2016). When more American societies embrace this movement, chances are high that a new program will emerge whereby the government will find it easier to address the challenge of crime.
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The other aspect many sociologists present whenever supporting the power and importance of restorative justice is that of race relations. If implemented effectively, the RJ movement can promote partnerships among ethnic groups across this country (Karp & Frank, 2016). Such measures have the potential to decrease disparities in the wider criminal justice system. The final result is that the country will address historical injustices and any form of marginalization that has existed in the United States for many years.
From the above discussion, it is agreeable that there is adequate evidence to support the role and importance of restorative justice. Nonpartisan individuals and associations will embrace the idea since they can overcome all issues associated with punitive practices. The move will minimize cases of inequality and support the delivery of exemplary support to all wrongdoers instead of convicting them (Curtis, 2016).
This approach will create a superior strategy that addresses the problem of congestion in American courts, improves the speed of justice delivery, and empowers more citizens to achieve their potential. Unfortunately, researchers are unable to predict the future of this country’s criminal justice system since different groups do not appreciate the importance of restorative approaches. For example, Wood (2015) asserts that such measures will never minimize the problem of incarceration. Sociologists and experts in this field should, therefore, present evidence-based ideas and concepts to support restorative justice and tackle most of the issues many citizens encounter.
The discussions and conceptual framework presented above have revealed that restorative justice is a powerful model that can transform and improve the nature of America’s criminal justice system. This initiative is supported by evidence-based practices that have delivered numerous benefits in different learning institutions and companies. According to the described theoretical concepts, restorative justice will overcome most of the challenges many citizens experience in this country. This new approach will promote the engagement of different stakeholders, reduce the negative implications of crime, and eventually empower Americans with diverse backgrounds to achieve their potential.
Beckett, K., & Kartman, M. (2016). Violence, mass incarceration and restorative justice: Promising possibilities. Web.
Curtis, C. (2016). Anti-social behaviour: A multi-national perspective of the everyday to the extreme. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Karp, D. R., & Frank, O. (2016). Anxiously awaiting the future of restorative justice in the United States. Victims & Offenders, 11(1), 50-70. Web.
Pavelka, S. (2016). Restorative justice in the states: An analysis of statutory legislation and policy. Justice Policy Journal, 2(13), 1-23.
Wood, W. R. (2015). Why restorative justice will not reduce incarceration. The British Journal of Criminology, 55(5), 883-900. Web.