A blog posting on restorative justice recently caught our attention. The posting was sent out by NAAG and authored by NAAG visiting fellow, Patrick Galasso.
The NAAG posting on restorative justice first introduces readers in to the concept of restorative justice noting that, it follows one of several “archetypes”, including “victim-offender mediation” and “reparative board[s]” in
which a panel of community members confronts an offender and develops a contract dictating the remedial measures to be taken. Vermont began integrating reparative boards into its criminal system in 1995, and today they are common throughout the state, dispensing justice (often in the form of community service obligations) in a number of mild to moderately serious crimes.
According to information from the DOJ’s National Institute of Justice, the traditional American criminal justice system “focuses on punishing offenders without forcing them to face the impact of their crimes.” By contrast, restorative justice
offer[s] more inclusive processes and reorient the goals of justice…The guiding principles of restorative justice are: (1) Crime is an offense against human relationships[;] (2) Victims and the community are central to justice processes[;] (3) The first priority of justice processes is to assist victims[;] (4) The second priority is to restore the community, to the degree possible[;] (5) The offender has personal responsibility to victims and to the community for crimes committed[;] (6) Stakeholders share responsibilities for restorative justice through partnerships for action[; and] (7) The offender will develop improved competency and understanding as a result of the restorative justice experience.