What Are the Pros and Cons of Restorative Justice?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Apr 10, 2020 7:36:14 PM ET

Pros of restorative justice include focusing attention on victims rather than perpetrators, promoting problem-solving strategies and stimulating communication; disadvantages include failing to stop future crimes and not imposing harsh penalties. Restorative justice emphasizes long-term strengthening and rebuilding of communities and families affected by crimes. Restorative justice affords young criminal offenders, below age 18, alternative solutions for corrective actions beyond options available in standard systems.

Restorative justice, like other types of alternative dispute resolution, seeks to bring parties involved in crimes together. It takes a long-term approach to violence and crime reduction using several methods, including group sessions and interactive dialogues. In restorative justice programs, offenders work with others affected by their criminal actions. Restorative justice promotes instilling positive behaviors in young criminals and teaching long-lasting changes in behavior to prevent future crimes.

Benefits of restorative justice include reducing the number of suspensions and disciplinary actions required by schools to manage offenders. These programs give students life skills needed to solve and manage problems beyond resorting to violence. While restorative justice programs receive praise from some, others criticize this resolution style. Critics contend justice programs give soft treatment, which never effects change. They argue that not all attendees of justice programs succeed, which in turn requires more funding and time spent on treatment. Lastly, opponents argue restorative justice produces results difficult to quantify.