Canadian Legal System Restorative Justice

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 remain statistically higher than they were years ago. What is it that is wrong with society today as opposed to 45 years ago (where crime rates were less than half of what they are in 2007) in order for this to be happening? I believe that by applying the principles behind restorative justice we can come to a more clear understanding of the answer to that question.Restorative justice represents a return of the simple wisdom of viewing conflict as an opportunity for a community to learn and grow. It operates on the premise that conflict, even criminal conflict, inflicts harm, and therefore individuals must accept responsibility for repairing that harm. (http://www.sfu.ca/crj/ ,2008). It is seen as an alternative form of justice, in which the offender is obliged to make some form of restitution to the victim and by extension into the community (Winterdyk, 2007 pg.433) Restorative justice programs attempt to return the offender to a state of social responsibility as opposed to trying to enforce morals. With a sense of social responsibility and a stronger sense of community as well as the feeling of shame for his or her actions it is hoped that the offender will be less likely to offend again.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...

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