restorative justice

Original source: wikipedia
Restorative justice is a theory of criminal justice that differs from a "punishment" focused system (retributive justice) and instead focuses on crime as an act against another individual or community, and the means to restore peace and attempt to right wrongs by compensating the victims.

In most forms of restorative justice, victims have an opportunity to express the full impact of the crime upon their lives, to receive answers to questions about the incident, and to participate in holding the offender accountable for his or her actions.

Offenders may also tell their story of why the crime occurred and how it has affected their lives. They are given an opportunity to make things right with the victim—to the degree possible—through some form of compensation. In more serious cases, restorative justice may be part of a sentence that includes prison time or other punishments.

Restorative justice was the most common criminal justice system prior to the modern nation state. Sovereigns tended to created legal systems as extensions of their own authority which could overrule the community based or common law systems of justice. Retributive justice replaced this system in England, for example, following the Norman invasion of Britain. By the end of the 11th century, crime was no longer perceived as injurious to persons, but rather was seen as an offense against the "King's peace" for which the offender would be punished.

In the 20th century, restorative justice started returning to popularity. In North America, aboriginal peoples advocated and won the right in many jurisdictions to practice their methods of peace making and using asentencing circle for aboriginal community. In the late 20th century, communities in the United States, Great Britain, and Australia began instituting restorative justice programs focused on juveniles.

Several studies, including one by the Canadian Department of Justice have found that using the methods of restorative justice have been effective at reducing the rate of recidivism (repeat offenses) as compared to more punitive approaches.

Restorative justice methods are considered not to be suited for dangerous offenders or offenders who show no remorse. It is also difficult to apply restorative justice to victimless crimes such as drug possession.

There is a variant, equity-restorative justice, and an alternative theory, transformative justice.