Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Restorative justice

Cherie Booth is said to favour restorative justice schemes. What do these consist of?

In the Radio 4 programme Lent Talk, she will say tonight that “restorative justice”, in which offenders meet those whose lives have been effected by their crimes, should be used as a matter of routine in cases involving assault, robbery and stealing.
In what sense is that restorative?

Restorative justice would surely consist of the offender restoring to the victim what they had taken or, in the case of assault, paying a compensatory fine direct to the victim. And it's certainly possible to see how that might help.

What Booth is proposing is a system of confrontation that might make the victim seem fully human to the offender and bring home the consequences of their crime. That might help too, but it isn't restoration.

Personally, I'm in favour of both, but I'd like to see more honest language used to describe them.

1 comment:

Ellee said...

While we should rehabilitate prisoners, the problem is the life they return to when their sentence has finished. If they have no job, no home maybe, no family support, how can they turn over a leaf and live a different life? Prison is only a last resort, so it's not a first time offender who will face the victim, but someone who has had several chances and ignored them.