Marshall (1999) asserts that restorative justice is one form of sentencing used in criminal justice system that emphasizes on restoring the harm brought about or revealed by criminal deeds. In other words, restorative justice is a problem-solving move toward crime that entails the parties themselves, together with the community in general in an active association with the statutory agencies. It involves a set of principles that may familiarize the broad practice of any group or agency in relation to crime as opposed to any specific practice (Bright, 1997). These principles include: creation of room for individual involvement of those largely concerned, visualizing criminal problems in their social context, a futuristic or preventive problem solving course and finally creativity of the practice (flexibility).
Restorative justice has its core objectives which include: attending fully to the needs of the victim, prevention of re-offending through reintegration of offenders into the community, allowing offenders to take full responsibility for their actions, recreating a working community which encourages rehabilitation and crime prevention and provision of ways of preventing escalation of legal justice and the linked delays and costs (Marshall, 1999).
This involves a meeting between the victims and offenders usually facilitated by a trained mediator. The victim and the offender are aided by the mediator to start resolving their conflict and develop their own strategy of achieving justice before their specific crime. The meetings ends with efforts to reach agreement on ways that the offender will use to repair the harm caused on the victim. Participation here is purely voluntary and researches indicate that the program is highly satisfactory (Bright, 1997).
This is a strategy that is comparable to victim-offender reconciliation because it also entails both the victims and offenders in the extensive conversation concerning the crime and its impacts. However this program additionally encompasses the participation of the police, community support groups, families, attorneys and social welfare officials (Marshall, 1999). This is to indicate to offenders mostly juvenile that the society is concerned and still cares for their welfare. Conferencing is only used in circumstances where offenders plead guilty of committing offences.
This is a program that offers services to the victims while recovering from a crime and happens through criminal justice system. The purpose of this program is to give legal representation to the crime victims, meet their physical and psychological requirements, and also offer them a chance of successfully reintegrating into the community as restored persons. This is done by a coordination of community support groups and victim’s rights activists (Bright, 1997).
Other programs of restorative justice include ex-offender assistance, circles, restitution and community service all of which have an ultimate goal of ensuring that both the offenders and the victims stay together in harmony and their
The criminal justice system has various ways of dealing with offenders through offering different forms of sentences. All of these sentences depended on the magnitude of the offense and legislative provisions concerning the punishment of the offenses in question. Examples of these sentences are probation, restitution and restorative justice that help to bring justice in the society.