Criminal activities are observed by many as an integral part of the society. This means that is difficult to live in an environment where there is no any breaking of the law. This is the main reason why governments of the world have established elaborate systems of justice for the purpose of fighting any social evils. All these are aimed at maintaining social harmony and protecting the citizens against malicious people. However, many systems of justice have not been effective in fully combating the incidences of crime as it has been soaring. This is the reason why there was a need to establish alternative systems such as the restorative justice to assist in the change of behavior.
Restorative justice has been defined as the process of seeking to fulfill the needs of the victim and also that of the offender (McCold, 1999).This is however contrary to the normal systems of justice which are aimed at fulfilling the demands of the constitution while ignoring that of the victim. In this social type of justice, the concerned authority realized that the only way to find a lasting solution is by getting to the root cause of an offence from the offenders side.
In this system of juvenile justice, the victim and the offender are both given the active role in determining the healing process (Morris, 2001). This is contrary to the conventional means where the focus is on the satisfaction of the needs of the law and the community by administering punishment to the offenders. Observation has shown that this has not been a successful way as far as curbing criminal activities is concerned. Several sociological theories state that every behavior has got a motivation and is committed to satisfy a specific need.
Therefore, in order to win the juvenile delinquency issues, there is need to tackle the motivating behavior from the offenders part. Punishment is sometimes said to suppress the undesirable behaviors only for sometime. It does not provide the absolute solution to the matters pertaining to behaving in the desirable way.
There are three main processes of restorative justice for the juvenile that have been provided. The first one is the arranged meeting between the offender and the victim in the presence of a qualified and experienced mediator (David, 2003). He facilitates the communication between the two parties with an aim of seeking to have a lasting solution. In this meeting, the offender is expected to repair the relationship with the victim, pay any damages or return any stolen commodities. He is also expected to apologize for any offences caused to the victim.
The second process is done in the presence of family members of the both parties. This stage is known as the family group conferencing which recognizes the important role of the parents, friends and the professionals that are closely linked to the offender. This is imperative especially if the offender is still dependent on the family and friends for survival as he shall take the advice given to them seriously.
The final stage in establishing a lasting solution in any juvenile delinquencies is by involving the wider circle of the community in several conferences. At this point, the victims or their close associates are given an opportunity to confront the offender with an aim of establishing the cause of the offence and pursuing any accrued damages.
In conclusion, restorative justice for the juvenile has been observed to be one of the most effective means of acquiring lasting solution. This is owing to the fact that it is aimed at getting to the root cause of the problem by involving both the victim and the offender. In the event of any damage, the offender has to apologize and later on required to pay reasonable damages.
McCold, P. (1999). Restorative justice practice – The state of the field. Paper presented at Building Strong Partnerships for Restorative Practices Conference, Burlington, VT, USA. Retrieved December 6, 2007, from HYPERLINK “http://www.restorativepractices.org/library/vt/vt_mccold.html” http://www.restorativepractices.org/library/vt/vt_mccold.html
Morris, G. (2001). Restorative conferencing. In Bazemore, G. & Schiff, M. (Eds.), Restorative community justice: Repairing harm and transforming communities (pp. 173–197). Cincinnati, OH: Anderson Publishing Co.
David, P. (2003). A survey of assessment research on mediation and conferencing. In L. Walgrave (Ed.), Repositioning Restorative Justice (pp. 67–120). Devon, UK: Willan Publishing.