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Back in 1984 in USA Ted Bundy was executed for committing 6 murders in 1974, this is an example of punitive justice, punitive justice can be referred to as retributive justice which is a theory that holds that the best response to a crime is punishment proportional to the offense inflicted because the offender deserves the punishment. Punitive justice is marred by some characteristics such as, it believes that punishments alters a person’s actions, criminal will only take responsibility through punishment, also believes that the infliction of pain will deter future criminal actions and lastly actions should be met with similar actions. Also noting, punitive justice tends to put people in jail as a punishment.
Restorative justice on the other hand is a community and victim centered philosophy that emphasizes offender accountability and responsibility through restrictions by which criminal justice is involved, this type of justice, is often refers to as localized a personal approach to justice, it tends to ask several questions, who was harmed? What are the needs? obligations of the affected? in the New York times articles by Dina Kraft she holds the view that “by taking inmates and victims makes things worse in jail” why? It’s a collective of different people with different offenses and in such you may learn more evil than good in that environment. She continues “restorative justice brings about both parties together, the offender and the victim voluntarily and share through closure the impact they had on the victims. the victims as well given a chance to ask questions and share how they were affected by crime, philosophically this is actually key t rehabilitation for both parties and reduced recedes.
If we look at the bible context, to portray the restorative justice system is a strategy from Genesis to Revelation. We take our first look that there is centrality of violence in Genesis 4;7-9 between Cain and Babel and the tower of babel story genesis 11. Contextually God response is a massive retribution, Noah and the flood out of Gods profound grief but then later God forgives and recedes the floods to bring the human beings again vowing not to destroy earth in this way again. Genesis 12;1-3 gives us this model’” gods calls together a community to know God healing love and to be a channel for this love blessing of all the people in earth. This is Gods healing strategy. Another controversial story or whether this was punitive justice, was when God sent the Moses to rescue the Israelites from the Egyptians after being slaves for 400 years, in which the Israelites received the 10 plagues that affected them. Which also the supporting cast was that God gave them a blue print which was torah or the law which was to help them rebuild their lives again more of a new style which is kind of restorative justice from all the injustices systems they experienced in Egypt.
Which is later ruled by King David who exercises the ultimate injustice of sleeping with Uriah wife Bathsheba causing Uriah’s death. King Solomon too violates torahs expectations and rules to live justly by gathering foreign wives and also taking sons and daughters of his people to the army and accumulating large stores of wealth. This injustice intensified by king Solomon so Rehoboam who leads a revolt in the northern kingdom causing Israel t separate into two, Israel and Judah which are later destroyed by Assyria and Babylon. According to prophets like Amos and Micah, the central reason for this destruction was the injustices that so characterized both societies
If we look at the Amos 5;5-7 where he speaks about “seek the lord and live, rest he breaks out like fire in the house of joseph and devour, with none to quench it for betherl, o you who turns justice to wormwoord and cast down righteousness to the earth” this justifies that justice and righteousness are associated with God, Amos also asserts do justice and live, do injustice and die, an unjust society will die, it cannot help but collapse of its own weight
GODS justice on old testament isn’t punitive so much but more of salvation which Is corrective. According to Micah 6;8 he talks about “what does God require of you to do justice and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God” when it comes to Biblical justice it is loving because Gods intervention gas always been intend of Gods people and thus restoration of covenant relationships.
When it comes to Jesus and justice in Matthew 5;6 when he says “blessed are those who are persecuted for justice sake for there is kingdom of heaven” 5;10 “strive first for the kingdom of God and his Justice and all these things will be given to you as well, later in Matthew 23;22 Jesus challenging Pharess for not caring enough about justice which is central to torah law. And in Matthew 25;31-46 Jesus tells a parable of separation of the just from unjust. In Luke 4;18-19 Jesus announces a new day of compassion and healing for the poor, the captives, the blind and oppressed, by which he gives a message justice as a whole making. finally, he announces and practices the forgiveness of debts, he tells us that justice is about inclusion not reprocity or letter of law, we should forgive 70 times seven.
Incidence on the bible have shown both punitive and restorative justice which include, justice is main characteristic of God who seeks to endlessly restore broken relationships, God responds to the alienation and brokenness that came to characterize the human situation with a long term commitment to bring healing through the formation of a particular community of people who would know Gods shalom and share widely. Blessing all the families of the earth. Jesus emphasizes that living best part of life involves seeking justice. Paul links justice to salvation arguing that Jesus faithfulness brought about healing of brokenness and alienation of a manifestation of Gods Justice and lastly justice in the bible is restorative through and thought the bible is “just: especially in that God seeks to bring about healing in relationships, transform alienation into community restore offenders into Gods family and bless all the families of the earth.
Kenyans justice system since colonial time has always been punitive, Kenya was colonized by the British. They conducted punitive justice to Africans since the early 1930s and after independence Kenyans thought that this was the most effective means of punishment, instead of thinking in the aspect that in these low standard jails is the same jail a murderer is in, a terrorist, a rapist and is the same jail you put a chicken thief or bugler. How does this explain that the person with the less crime will not be affected by the negative energy in the prisons and when he or she is released will have actually reformed or gotten worse? Kenyans jail only have few rehabilitative productive but more manual work or education in jail such as, carpentry, farming, electrician and many others this is only changing the skill set but not the mentality capability change that committed the act.
There is less room for restorative justice in Kenya, in fact most people believe that punitive justice is the best form of justice since they are already used to it, it’s like a no option clause. Punitive justice is nothing more than obedience of the law and does not really reconcile with society or the victim. Our Kenyan justice system believes that penal system always the best. Growing up and watching TV news it was always portrayed that bad people if the commit crimes always go to jail, which is a very wrong way of handling justice for some crimes which are very mine too. These are people too and need more than jail instituted reforms. people should understand that restorative is a bit more effective than punitive because, it offers support and assistance to crime victims .it holds that offenders are directly accountable to the people and community they have violated, it provides a large opportunity for dialogue and problem solving among interested crime victims and lastly offers offender s an opportunity to completely develop, re-integrate into product community lives.
Just to show how much Kenya’s believe in punitive justice ,early 2016 January the daily nation served a story of a man who was taken to jail for 6months for refusing to take to drugs (Aboo, 2016).
It should be noted that we can’t have peace without justice, justice holds the community and is marred by other systems which are truth and reconciliation, they form the basis for justice in a society or a country. First of all, it is important to understand that the Kenyan justice is flawed and needs to change, from the top government to the chief’s camps, in Kenya the notion that the punitive justice is obedience to the law by the constitution is actually right but rehabilitation in from of restorative justice is efficient and shouldn’t be undermined, why? It is very vital for a fully functioning society. Kenya being a 3rd world country is still struggling to cope with democracy, the church society of Kenya and NGO’s should be main actors in instituting restorative justice in Kenya. Make restorative justice a norm, some crimes are okay to be punished by jail, punitive justice because some are acts of inhuman acts e.g. acts of terror but some crimes are better handled with restorative justice. In short both the restorative and punitive justice should be available in Kenya depending on crimes but depends on situations also, we have overcrowded jails with overpopulated numbers, institution restorative justice in the society can solve some issues which aren’t major such as chicken thief or a drunkard.in Jail also institute some reforms for the people there, new prison rehabilitation programs that are efficient not physically but also mentally, because a crime is first committed in the mind then committed by the physical body. Solving justice systems in just a one progressive way to peaceful state. a state’s justice system can either make or break the country.
A brief back ground of 2007 is that Kenya has elections then, but the election was disputed with violence as neither side wanted to lose the elections, the main party actors were PNU and ODM. Late December 2007 and early 2008 January violence erupted in each party’s hotbeds of politics. The violence caused more than five hundred deaths, people are displaced, living in camps all due to tribalism, ethnic propagated violence. But let’s look at the end of violence and if we would have handled the justice procedure well, this means we would have resorted to reconciliation instead of the western jurisprudence justice system of going to the ICC. Going to the ICC made matters worse, up to date no one was prosecuted for the actions of the 2007 post violence elections, the country sought punitive justice to bring satisfaction to the people that justice has been served. Instead Kenya should have resorted to reconciliation first, reconciliation is assisted or made easier by four elements, justice, peace, mercy and truth. Reconciliation would have brought about social healing, emotional satisfaction. Justice management should have been in form of restorative justice, why restorative at such a time? It would restore the emotional and material loss of the people, it would have provided a range of opportunities for dialogue and problem solving among the victims and offenders, would be granted the opportunity to integrate back in the society and lastly would offer assistance to crime victims and what they are going though, e.g. trauma. Love, unity, forgiveness and respect for one another would have dominated the system and learnt from mistakes and why was punitive justice methodology the worst in such a situation? Punitive justice well, yes the offenders would go to jail but that would be it, just jail time no rehabilitation closure with victims and his voice to be heard, going to jail would only make things worse, why? he or she is going to be integrated with is ethnic people and will start the other ethnic tribe as to the reason why they are locked up and vice versa, and when he or she get out the mentality will be the same ,he went have changed a thing but only increased his aggravate towards a certain ethnic community.
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