Pros and Cons of Restorative Justice
In the past few decades, restorative justice has gained more popularity and has rose to be among the highly discussed topics in criminology and criminal justice. Restorative justice refers to a strategy that allows victims and offenders to reconcile while minimizing anger and enhancing satisfaction (Huang & Chang, 2013). It enhances justice and a fair treatment of both parties especially in petty crimes. The relatives of the parties and the community at large are also offered a chance to give an explanation as the strategy presumes that any offense committed is usually against the community.Restorative Justice is of great value to only to the victim and the offender but also the community at large. It is an alternative measure to sending offenders to jail (Stefanovska, 2013). People who commit petty crimes are less harmful to their societies and sending them to jail would create congestion. Realistically, Restorative Justice is much more cost effective compared to other approaches of justice. A greater percentage of the victims involved in face to face meetings with their offenders emerge satisfied and there is less likelihood of the law breakers re-offending (Stefanovska, 2013). The peace circles created in Restorative Justice are not only helpful to those involved but also to the wider community.Some critics are however fully opposed to Restorative Justice citing that the approach would cause more harm than good. The approach devalues legal rights and underestimates crime (Huang & Chang, 2013). There is less evidence whether the justice system effects real behavioral change. More power imbalances are likely to thrive in the Restorative Justice contexts as it is not made available for all offenders. Some victims discard the offer due to the harm caused to them which could result to low self-esteem. Also, the victims may gang up against the offender or simply shame him or her during the meeting. In order to enhance equity and justice, the contexts within which Restorative Justice is to be used should be made more uniform and some governing rules implemented.