A System of Justice

Posted: December 22, 2013 by Ed Griffin in Prison, Reform
Tags: , , , , , ,

When our ancestors came to North America, they brought with them their legal system with its judges and punishment and prisons. As they learned more about the people whose land they took, they discovered that many of these people had a different system, which we call restorative restorativejustice. The native peoples tried to restore the victim of crime, the offender who committed the crime, and the community that suffered the harm.

  • Restore the victim – Make up for their loss wherever possible.
  • Restore the offender – don’t just punish them, work with them to restore the person to become a good member of society.
  • Restore the community – a little harder to understand, but when a crime is committed on my street, I feel a lot less safe.

For us, this is a whole new way of thinking. Pick up your local paper:

  • Does it tell of victims being given psychological help?
  • Does it show that a judge put real thought into how to teach a criminal a new way?
  • What does the government do to make people feel safer?
  1. Joanne says:

    Although I try to take it in stride or at least steel myself for what I’m about to read, I continue to be shocked by what I read in the media about crime. And that is even before I get to reading the comments posted at the bottom of the news stories. Our society as a whole certainly does not currently have the mentality necessary to fully embrace a Restorative Justice model. Before we can launch into something like this in modern times, we would need to demonstrate with research and with educational campaigns the true benefits of Restorative Justice. It is happening on a small scale and those who are engaged in it and are benefitting from it need to speak out. University students need to choose it as a dissertation topic more often and they need to make sure their research gets air time. Only once we are saturated with the ideas of Restorative Justice and truly understand what it is and what the benefits are to our society will it be embraced by a large minority or small majority.

    • Ed Griffin says:

      I have the same experience, Joanne. I wait for that flash of wisdom, for a judge in a high profile case to lay out the principles of restorative justice. Or for reporters to get the message. As you know, restorative justice is not just in the sentencing — it’s all through the criminal justice system.
      A Happy New Year to you and yours, Joanne.

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