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Canadian Legal System Restorative Justice Essay

2228 words - 9 pages

Restorative JusticeAssignment 7ABy: Karyn White12/22/2008Submitted to: Robert TuckerFor the Course in CriminologyA discussion of the use of Restorative Justice Programs and their role in the Canadian Justice System. In discussing the effectiveness of Restorative Justice Programs as a method of reducing crime and the possibility of re-offence it is important to take note of the fact the crime rates in Canada are much higher than they were. In 1962 the crime rate in Canada was close to 2600/100,000 people and by 1997 the crime rate was reported at around 7000/100, 00 people. (www.statcan.gc.ca, 2008)Although there have been slight decreases in crime rates over the past few years they ...view middle of the document...

Before further examining why Restorative justice is an effective alternative to more common methods of rehabilitating offenders it will help to have a better understanding of why many of the other methods might not be as effective.As stated by Winterdyk, (2006, pg 433) punishment is ineffective. Punishment can be viewed as ineffective for many reasons. Criminals have been punished to varying degrees in many countries for many years without the success that is expected. If harsher problems such as capital punishment, incarceration, electrical monitoring etc were successful at deterring crime why do so many criminal offend again and again? Why does crime continue to be such a major problem in Canadian society? In addition to these questions; conventional forms of Punishment are expensive, costing governments and citizen taxes millions of dollars a year. With statistical evidence showing that people who have already offended being more likely to offend again it does not appear that the current system of punishment for crime is very successful. Punitive Penal sanctions amount to punishing the victim. Regardless of the method one uses to explain criminality, there is no logical justification for punishment. The outcome is that the offender loses and the victim has no real recourse to heal. Is this true Justice (Winterdyk, 2006 pg433)Thus, if one comes to the conclusion that traditional methods of punishment are ineffective at rehabilitating criminals it gives the impression that we need to find an alternative approach, which is where restorative justice fits into the picture. In learning about these types of programs we must also take a look back in time, according to studies at the Centre for Restorative Justice, Canada was the first country in the world to offer victim offender reconciliation programs, which is one of the primary components of restorative justice programs. Interestingly restorative justice programs can trace their roots to Aboriginal Cultures and Mennonite traditions as these groups were the first to use these types of programs to rehabilitate their criminals. Although the above statements are true, it has also been found that there is evidence of the principles dating back to the 1800s and early 1900s where in England the government practised a minimalist approach to justice. The community was encouraged to resolve its own disputes before bringing them to court (Winterdyk, 2006)Practices and programs reflecting restorative purposes will respond to crime by identifying and taking steps to repair harm, involving all of the members involved in the crime (the offender, the victim and the judicial system) and transforming the traditional relationship between communities and their governments in responding to crime. (www.restorativejustice.org, 2008) In the application of the Restorative Justice Program to offenders a number of goals are focused on to aid in the success of the plan. Those goals being: Victim offender mediation,...

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