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Restorative Justice and Young Offenders - Essay Example

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Restorative justice is a relatively contemporary model in penology that has had quite a considerable level of acceptance in modern penology, especially in North America, Europe, (Umbreit and Greenwood, 1998) Australia, and New Zealand. More than a 1000 different programmes that employ restorative justice principles are known to be operative in the afore mentioned jurisdictions…
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Download file "Restorative Justice and Young Offenders" to see previous pages... (Luna 2003) This inclusive process of penology is preferred as a medium for dealing with the causes and effects of crime in the community. (Luna 2003) Restorative justice views crime as an offence against an individual (or individuals) and the community and is thus a departure from the traditional norm in penology where the state assumes the role as the one whose prohibitions has been breached.
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The locus of dealing with crime and its effects under restorative justice is thus communal in nature. Consequently, Marshall (1995) has observed that restorative justice gives "recognition of community, rather than criminal justice agencies as the prime site of crime control" (p.1)
Marshall (1999) also asserts that restorative justice is founded on principles which include "making room for the personal involvement of those mainly concerned (particularly the offender and the victim, but also their families and communities); seeing crime problems in their social context; a forward-looking (or preventative) problem-solving orientation;" and "flexibility of practice (creativity)" (p.5).
One of the areas of the criminal justice system that restorative justice is showin...
(Thames Valley Police, 1999) McGarrell (2001) observes that in the US, emphasis on issues of youth violence and school safety due to school shootings, have diverted attention from an important area of concern like delinquency among the very young. Writing in 2000, Puzzanchera et al, had indicated through available statistics that 16 percent of youth below the age of 13 arrested by police were referred to juvenile courts. What is more worrying is the fact that 60 per cent of youth between the ages of 10-12 referred to juvenile courts re-offended and thus appeared before the courts more than once. (McGarrell, 2001)

Snyder and Sickmund (1995) have also observed that 80 percent of youth who are referred to juvenile courts for a second time are likely to offend again and thus appear before the courts again. Though the incidence of child delinquency that precipitates this early involvement with the criminal justice system are generally not serious crimes, the risk of child offenders progressing to more serious crimes in the future is very high - two out of three time higher than for offenders who start offending at a later stage in life. (Loeber and Farrington, 2000) Consequently, "early involvement in status offenses and delinquency is a stepping stone in a pathway to serious, violent, and chronic offending". (McGarrell, 2001 p.1)

With such a high incidence of offending and re-offending, the criminal justice system dealing with youth crime definitely needs a system that can stem the tide of this chronic re-offending rate among the youth and the promise that restorative justice is showing in this direction is encouraging.

As is evident in the introductory segment of this literature review, restorative justice can be used widely in the criminal justice system to deal ...Download file "Restorative Justice and Young Offenders" to see next pagesRead More
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