What is restorative justice?

What is restorative justice?

Glenn Funk, Tennessee Davidson County District Attorney General, wants a restorative justice program in Nashville. Mayor Megan Barry and other officials have signaled their support, and a pilot program is being developed in Juvenile Court. Funk said restorative justice program “can create a more fair justice system and better serve the community of Nashville.“
The basics of restorative justice.
Expert calls restorative justice ‚more victim-focused than the traditional court system. Graham Reside, a professor and administrator in the Vanderbilt University Divinity School, called it an alternative to arrests, trials and jail time that is „more victim-focused than the traditional court system.“ In restorative justice systems, an offender could still be arrested and investigated, but rather than going through a trial, the case would be routed to a more conversational process that included the offender, the victim and a mediator, among others. During that conversation, the parties would be able to express their points of view — the victim would get to say how the crime hurt them and the offender could explain their motivation. Then all parties would work to come up with a resolution. Sometimes the resolution includes jail time, but it’s typically more creative and unconventional.
“The current system really puts a lot of pressure on you not to accept responsibility,” Reside said, referencing how defendants are often encouraged not to plead guilty, and that often victims only speak during sentencing hearings. „This system has more possibilities for healing whereas the other system seems to be creating deeper and deeper wounds on both sides,“ Reside said. „That’s a kind of perverse reality in our criminal justice system.“
Restorative justice aims to limit jail time and stop people from committing more crimes. Evidence suggests that offenders who go through restorative justice are less likely to commit more crimes, particularly young people. It also tends to shrink the jail population, which saves government costs. The system has gained traction in recent years as part of a growing bipartisan effort to reform the criminal justice system. “Some of the people that are closest to this are interested in seeing this flourish,“ Reside said. „The current system has some problems,“ he said. „This seems to have some legs and might work.“
The mayor’s Youth Violence Summit recommended restorative justice. Continue reading