Restorative Justice : A necessary Evolution ? Over the last decades, a new conception of Justice started to rise.
Regarding the evolution of mores, Justice had to adapt itself as well. In essence, Justice intervenes to solve problems due to criminal conduct, but it has to make sure that this conduct will not occur again. However considering this fact, how can we explain that the deterrence part of Justice failed? Crime in general still exist and no matter if punishments were inflicted with severity or thought in a retributive way, we still assist nowadays at the continuance of criminal conduct. 0 years ago the question of creating a new aspect of Justice was raised. Instead of punishing isn’t it possible to educate people? This question is not new though. Present within the Jude Christian culture, this aspect of Justice was developed by Howard Zero, considered as the leading visionary of the question of “Restorative Justice”.
Why do people are still committing crimes, whereas punishments are supposed to be severe enough to deter others? This question take place during the area where Human Rights are put on the line.The criminal should not be considered as an outcast of society, but as a person with rights and obligations: he will have to pay for his crime but what if we Just release a criminal after his sentence without being sure that he has understood his punishment? Does Justice need only to punish, or does it also have to take care of both victim and offender? Indeed the principle of Restorative Justice is directly confronted to the principle of Retributive Justice. Basically, even if the question of punishing the offender still exists, the main effort is put on the “healing” aspect.We have to make sure that the victim will be helped and that things will be as right as possible. It is more about repairing what has be done, reconstructing, than Just punishing. People must be treated with respect and because of that, the notion of reintegration is directly linked to the Restorative Justice. In other words, the offender is not Just considered as a criminal, but also as a person who need to be helped as well.
The main goal is that we have to be sure that this offender will not commit this crime again, not by threatening him but more in a peaceful way.The document illustrates this example with several debates which took places for Juvenile offenders. Debates between victims and defendant. The educative aspect implies that the criminal needs assistance but also means that he has obligations consequently. Mediation and dialogue seem to be the best way of apply the Restorative Justice, at least for Juvenile offenders. For the others, emphasis is placed on rehabilitation. Basically Justice has to make sure that the offender will not be a potential danger for society, but also has to give him a second chance.
This principle is not absolute though, but efforts have been made regarding this idea, order to be helped. Restorative Justice has been developed in other countries all other the world. The principle is now widely accepted, and still evolving. The United Nations Council encouraged in 2002 a global use of Restorative Justice; the Council of Europe as well proposed the use of Mediation as way of applying Justice. All these recommendations illustrate the desire of considering criminals as hopeless persons.What about Retributive Justice? Of course the main aspect of Justice has to be kept like that. Even if criminals can be helped, it does not mean that the crime will be forgiven without any consequences.
The main problem will then be to use both aspect of Justice : Punishment and Education; deterring people from committing crimes, not by threatening them but more likely by making people understand. A quote from a French Writer, Victor Hugo, can sum up this analysis : “Open a School, you will close a Prison”.