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Restorative Justice and Its Effectiveness in The Reduction of Crime

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Accountability is owning up to our own mistakes. Acknowledging our wrongs, rather they are self-harm or harm to others, has a huge effect on the healing process. A simple apology goes a long way. This is something that we have learned since childhood, yet adults have a hard time doing it, especially when a crime is involved. In this reading you will understand how restorative justice works and how it affects the reduction of crime. We will determine how reintegrated justice has an effect on rehabilitation of offenders.

Restorative justice is a process that operates on principles that involve primary participants with an aspect that reflects “because crime hurts, justice should heal.” The purpose of restorative justice is to focus on relieving the victim’s suffering or maybe the family of the victims suffering, to try and look beyond the hurt but instead look for justice. “Restorative justice and empathy, together, provide the foundation for a process that heals more than the aftermath of crime — a process that strives to understand and heal the hurt that triggered the crime.” According to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service “the restorative justice theory views crime as a violation of people and relationships, which includes victims. In return for the violation there has to be some obligation to make things right.” (Warden R., 2019) The benefits of restorative justice are not just to punish the offender for the crimes that they have committed, but to give the victim the opportunity to face their accuser. Crime affects everyone that is involved, not just the victims, but the offenders, their families, and communities surrounding them. Addressing the root of the problem and trying to change or transform the offenders for the crimes, is another benefit of restorative justice. The question is does it work?

It has been researched that restorative justice does work. There is a higher chance for offenders to be repeat offenders if they go through the program, and victim satisfaction is increased as well. You can also look at the cost effectiveness when looking at the cost of punishing an offender with jail time, and with the increase chance them being a repeat offender. At the end of it all, restorative justice is promoting healing for the offender and the victim.

Social reaction theory also known as labeling theory says people become criminals when significant members of society label them as such, and they accept those labels as a personal identity”. Labeling theory is also has supported research proving that offenders who go to treatment programs aimed at changing their views they have for themselves may be able to develop a new identity and walk away from crime. Some offenders go through a “redemption rituals”, which they cast off their damaged identities and develop new ones. From that, they develop an improved self-concept, which reflects the positive reinforcement they receive while receiving some type of rehabilitation.

One of the key foundations of the restoration movement is shame; the feeling we get when we don’t meet the standards we have set for ourselves or that significant others have set for us. Shame can lead people to believe that they are defective, that there is something wrong with them. Shame to me looks like it is an excuse to why someone has done something. In other countries shame is a way to let the offender know that society is not pleased, but we live in a country where shame has no value. According to the text, reintegrative shaming is a method of correction that encourages offenders to confront their misdeeds, experience shame because of the harm they caused, and then be reincluded in society.

Braithwaite argues that crime control can be better achieved through a policy of reintegrative shaming. Disapproval is extended to the offender’s choice to commit crimes against someone, at the same time they can change the image from criminal to respected people of society. A very important part of reintegrative shaming happens when the offenders start to realize who and how their actions have affected others and how they have shamed themselves. According to Braithwaite a way to prevent crime, society must encourage reintegrative shaming. Some examples of reintegrative shaming would be reducing domestic violence but publicly displaying the abuser. Same would go for a sex offender, or child abuser.

I personally do not believe that reintegrative justice works once you get past the age of being a juvenile. People have a choice to rather or not they will commit a crime, especially because of the chances of them being caught and being punished. People have been put in jail/prison for crimes since the beginning of time. The idea of losing your job, freedom, and maybe even your family still is not enough for some people. How is saying I’m sorry to someone you purposely violated supposed to help? I think it is a cop out, and a very childish way to deal with serious issues. Even though I feel strongly about reintegrative justice, I do feel there is still a need for rehabilitation. Punishment should not be the end result for an offender.


  • Warden, R. (2019). Where Is the Empathy? Understanding Offenders’ Experience of Empathy and Its Impact on Restorative Justice. UMKC Law Review, 87(4), 953–977. Retrieved from
  • How Does Restorative Justice Work? (2017, October 26). Retrieved November 17, 2019, from
  • Siegel, L. J. Criminology: Theories, Patterns and Typologies. [University of Phoenix]. Retrieved from

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