Our criminal justice system is based on the retributive justice paradigm, which focuses on punishing those who violate the law. However, this paradigm does not address or account for all of the damaged caused by crime. It also does not effectively discourage crime, as is evident by high incarceration rates and recidivism; all of this is exacerbated by the immoral 'war on drugs' and other imaginary crimes. Evidence of its obsolescence is obvious to anyone who isn't willfully ignorant.
U.S. has the highest incarceration rate
and high recidivism
The restorative justice paradigm, by contrast, focuses on repairing the damage caused by crime and accounts for not only the harm inflicted upon the victim, but also the harm inflicted upon the victim's family, other people affected by the crime, and the community as a whole. Unlike retributive justice, restorative justice necessitates redress for victims and amends by offenders. The final goal of restorative justice is the reintegration of the victim and the offender (if he/she committed a non-violent crime) into their community, which would reduce recidivism.
What is restorative justice?
I know I did a story contrasting restorative justice with our current paradigm, retributive justice, but I never really defined what it is besides its ultimate goal. So here is what I consider to be the 5 theses of restorative justice.
5 theses of restorative justice
1. Crime causes harm to people, relationships, and the community. Justice requires repairing that harm.
2. The people most affected by the crime should be allowed to participate in its resolution.
3. By committing the crime, the offender creates an obligation to the victim, the community, and the state.
4. When the offender meets that obligation, they are taking responsibility for their actions, and begin to understand and value their relationship with other people, the community, and the state.
5. The responsibility of the government is to maintain order and peace in the community.
Here is a more in-depth contrast between restorative justice and retributive justice