Retributive vs Restorative justice

Retributive justice and restorative justice are two distinct approaches to dealing with criminal offenses. Retributive justice is centered around the notion that punishment is necessary in order to deter crime and provide justice for victims. In this approach, the main emphasis is on penalizing the perpetrator, often through incarceration, fines, or other forms of punishment. The primary objective of retributive justice is to enforce the law and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions. However, this approach can often leave victims feeling marginalized and disadvantaged. In traditional criminal justice systems, the victim is not always given a voice and their experiences, feelings, and needs are often not taken into consideration. This can lead to a sense of injustice and disconnection from the resolution process, leaving victims feeling unsupported and unheard.

On the other hand, restorative justice recognizes that crime is not merely an act against the state, but a harm to individuals and communities. Rather than punishment alone, the focus of restorative justice is on repairing the harm and restoring relationships when appropriate. This approach typically involves bringing together the victim and the perpetrator in a facilitated meeting where they can discuss the harm and work towards a resolution that addresses the harm and restores losses.

One of the key advantages of restorative justice for victims is that it provides them with a voice and an opportunity to participate in the resolution process. In traditional criminal justice systems, the victim is often marginalized and their voice is not given much consideration. However, in restorative justice programs, the victim is central to the process and is given the chance to express their experiences, feelings, and needs. This empowers victims, helps them feel heard and validated, and contributes to their sense of satisfaction and closure.

Retributive Justice Restorative Justice
Focus Punishment Repairing harm, restoring relationships
Role of victim Marginalized, no voice Central, empowered, given a voice
Objective Enforcing the law and holding perpetrators accountable Repairing harm and restoring relationships
Outcome for victim Unsatisfied, disconnected, sense of injustice Satisfied, empowered, closure
Note: The table summarizes the comparison between retributive justice and restorative justice, highlighting the differences in their focus, role of the victim, objective, and outcome for the victim.

Another advantage of restorative justice is that it allows victims to participate in the justice process. In many cases, victims are left with emotional scars and a sense of injustice after a crime is committed against them. Restorative justice provides an opportunity for the victim to be an active participant in the justice process.

In contrast, the retributive justice system can often leave victims feeling unsatisfied and disconnected from the resolution process. Punishment, as the main focus of retributive justice, does not necessarily address their harm, and can sometimes leave victims feeling that their needs and experiences have been ignored.

In conclusion, while both retributive justice and restorative justice have their own strengths and weaknesses, restorative justice has significant advantages for victims. By providing a voice and an opportunity to participate in the resolution process, restorative justice can empower victims, provide a sense of closure, and contribute to their healing. By focusing on restoring harm, restorative justice offers a more victim-centered approach to criminal justice.