Restorative Justice in Canada

Restorative Justice in Canada In the present criminal justice environments, research has been defined as essential to the success of any new movement. Thus, there are diverse views of restorative justice in Canada as long as public safety is achieved in line with the criminal justice system.
For example, restorative justice is considered as a program that attempts to reduce recidivism. It is also defined as a new program striving to address increases in delinquent and criminal behaviors.
This has prompted most citizens to agree that it can be a success as it addresses the needs of victims adequately. It focuses on issues and harms caused by criminal behaviors while holding offenders responsible for their actions.
It provides opportunities for the parties involved and directly affected by criminal behaviors. These parties include delinquent or criminal citizens, victims, and the community at large. They should identify and resolve their needs in the aftermath of a crime.
Therefore, restorative justice is a supportive approach in criminal justice as it advocates for healing, reintegration into the community, and preventive measures ensuring crime neither occurs nor harms or offends victims and the Canadian community in future.
It also advocates for reparation where necessary (Wachtel, 2013). A focus on principles, values, practices, and efficiencies of restorative justice in Canada will affirm it respects individual and community diversity while working to improve communities’ justice.
Principles, Values and Practices of Restorative Justice The Canadian Inventory of Restorative Justice Programs and Services has supported this approach by asserting that restorative justice seeks to help criminals, victims, and the general public. It plays a major role in locating programs, teaching, advocating, and conducting research to provide services while developing resources to be used in training programs related to restorative justice. It is considered as a standard term applied to define practices addressing wrongdoers as they seek to move beyond punishment. The restorative justice practices address causes and consequences of offending on personal, relational, and societal levels to promote accountability, healing, and justice. It is a collaborative and peacemaking criminal justice approach to conflict resolution employed in various settings including judicial systems, businesses, homes, and schools across Canada (Costello, Wachtel, & Wachtel, 2012).
Processes and values of restorative justice are inseparable as the privileges of this approach in criminal justice seek to enhance principles associated with respect and
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Processes and values of restorative justice are inseparable as the privileges of this approach in criminal justice seek to enhance principles associated with respect and honesty. Thus, restorative justice practices strive to meet and exhibit respect for the parties involved by giving ample opportunities for every individual to speak the truth freely.
For example, it ensures all humans have inherent and equal worth irrespective of their actions, which can be good or bad as it does not focus on race, gender, culture, age, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, beliefs and other factors embracing diversity.
This ensures values of criminal justice are honored through diverse processes that are flexible as everyone deserves to be spoken to and treated with respect. Thus, restorative justice practices advocates for deep human values and virtues through flexible practices affording cross-cultural utility to uphold mutual respect that engenders good faith and trust in criminal justice.
Ethnic and cultural communities within Canada often employ diverse processes actualizing common restorative values in order to achieve similar restorative outcomes (Smull, Wachtel, & Wachtel, 2012). It has led Canadian communities to identify the best restorative justice practices as processes specifying values inspiring the criminal justice vision by expressing concrete standards of practice in relation to honesty.
For example, practices identifying skills criminal justice practitioners required in initiating and guiding interactions expressing restorative justice values are regarded as the best. They have played a major role of shaping the nature of relations between providers and the other parties with a stake in the criminal justice field, such as government agencies contracting community providers.
They rely on truthful speech crucial in ensuring justice is achieved as this value ensures facts are clarified in establishing guilt within strict legal parameters. More so, people are encouraged to speak freely, openly, and honestly about their experiences, feelings, and moral responsibilities in case of a wrongdoing (Rankin, 2007).
Participation is also a core restorative justice value as it ensures the most affected people in case of a wrongdoing are the principal speakers and decision makers For example, victims, offenders, and communities of interest during a wrongdoing are required to be principal speakers and decision makers in the conflict resolution process and approach seeking criminal justice. Restorative justice does not advocate for trained professionals representing interests of the state to contribute as their goals during meetings addressing a wrongdoing do not focus on victims, offenders, and communities’ criminal justice values (Rankin, 2007).
Accountability has played a major role in ensuring restorative justice upholds the criminal justice principles and values. This practice ensures that when people deliberately inflict pain and harm on each other through wrongdoings, perpetrators observe their moral obligations by accepting responsibility. This ensures perpetrators that accept their criminal behaviors have caused harm; hence, responsible in mitigating the consequences that have ensued. This practice has encouraged offenders of criminal justice approaches and programs to demonstrate acceptance by expressing remorse for their criminal behaviors and make reparation for losses inflicted on the innocent victims. Consequently, they should seek forgiveness from the victims they have inflicted pain, harmed, and disrespected in order to pave way for reconciliations to occur (Rankin, 2007).
The empowerment practice is based on the notion that human beings need a degree of self-determination and autonomy in their lives. Restorative justice believes criminal behaviors rob victims this power as criminals exert control over innocent people by attacking and disrespecting them without their consent. As a result, restorative justice seeks to empower victims of crime by providing them with an opportunity to actively determine what their needs are and how they should be met. It also empowers offenders to be responsible for offending and disrespecting innocent members of the community by determining measures to take to rectify and remedy the harm caused and pain inflicted before commencing rehabilitation and reintegration processes (Smull, Wachtel, & Wachtel, 2012).
Efficiencies of Restorative Justice in Canada Restorative justice views criminal behaviors as more than the act of breaking the law as it believes they cause harm to people, relations, and the community at large. As a result, it seeks to ensure just responses ought to address the harms and wrongdoings, as long as the involved parties are willing to identify the best way they can meet, discuss the harms, and bring resolution. It has also identified other approaches if the parties involved are neither able nor willing to meet, discuss a wrongdoing and the harms caused in order to bring resolutions. For example, parties can meet and lead to transformational changes in their lives. Thus, the restorative justice practices are effective as they repair damages caused by criminal behaviors (Wachtel, 2013).
Its approaches also acknowledge that the best way to determine what to do as parties make decisions during a resolution should enable them to encounter, interconnect, attain accountability, and empower each other to believe in justice. Transformation is also an effective idea applied in ensuring restorative justice causes fundamental changes in people, relations, and communities. Thus, restorative justice has been efficient in guaranteeing criminal behaviors inflicting pain and disrespecting victims face justice repairing the harms. It has also been efficient in ensuring people affected by criminal behaviors participate in the resolution processes. Consequently, it has enforced the government’s responsibility is maintaining order while encouraging the communities to build peace (Wachtel, 2013).
The unique way of thinking about criminal behaviors with regard to restorative justice has prompted responses to crime focus on repairing the harms caused. It has also ascertained future harms caused by crime are either reduced or prevented by requiring offenders take responsibilities for their harmful actions or criminal behaviors. Based on this, it seeks redress for victims while recompensing offenders or criminals and achieving reintegration within communities. However, these efficiencies require cooperative efforts from communities and the government as it ensures all parties are included to encounter harms of crime and make amends for successive reintegration (Wachtel, 2013).
Traditional criminal justice systems have been criticized for being too formal, adversarial, and punitive for a long period of time. The increase in number of restorative justice programs operating within Canada prove that it is impacting criminal justice practices, values, and principles positively to achieve substantial changes. Restorative justice has improved victim contentment and approval. More so, its nature and response to criminal behavior has strongly impacted Canadian communities as it has been encouraging criminals and offenders to take responsibility for their actions (Wachtel, 2013).
It has ensured persons charged and found guilty of engaging in criminal behavior repair some of the harm they have caused to victims and Canadian communities through restitution. Although the gains made in recidivism are not as strong as appropriate correctional treatment, restorative justice has ensured recidivism reduces especially for citizens choosing to participate. This has encouraged criminals participating in restorative justice programs to report moderate increases in satisfaction in comparison to the traditional criminal justice system (Haarala, 2004). The restorative justice theoretical and empirical research findings should be applied by nations seeking to obtain an improved understanding to the effects of self-selection biases currently diminishing the citizens’ confidence levels in criminal justice programs.

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