May 5, 2014
CJA224-Introduction to criminal court systems
Everyday, crimes are committed, reeking havoc on individuals, their families and communities. Our criminal justice system focuses mainly on punishing crime, rather than rehabilitating the criminals or victims involved. A new approach is found in the restorative process that focuses on the victims and the offenders, as well as the community where they live. Since crime affects not only the victim but the people who have any visibility of the crime as well, this process seeks to help everyone deal, heal and move on after crimes are committed. With this concept, victims, offenders, family members and community members affected by the crimes committed all seek to find restoration as a group. The idea is to help take away a portion of the feeling of being victimized. This concept also encourages the offenders if they are identified to take responsibility and ownership of what they did in order to attempt to fix the damage they have caused.
In this case, David and Ed broke into Mildred’s home stealing an anniversary watch that was from her late husband, money and other jewelry items. The crime in this case had a huge ripple effect around the neighborhood. Many times when people live in close communities, neighbors and friends tend to look out for each other. When this crime took place, it shook everyone in the area because it stole his or her perception of security. This sense of security is something everyone should be able to feel inside and around his or her home. This crime not only affected Mildred but many other people in the community as well. Mildred instantly began feeling vulnerable and attacked by having her home invaded and her personal property stolen. Her daughter Betty lost valuable time by having to tend to her mother and rebuild that safe and secure feeling in her home while she was alone. While Betty was doing this, she also had a family of her own that was effected by the time she took away from them. It caused undue stress on her husband to take on more work than normal to cover their families needs. The neighbor’s children who learned of the incident were scared that the offenders were going to return and steal their toys. David’s parents were most likely filled with guilt and shame in the community and embarrassed for their son for the crime he had committed.
A website found at http://www.d.umn.edu/~jmaahs/Correctional%20Assessment/rj%20brief.pdf states “Restorative justice is different from contemporary criminal justice in several ways. First, it views criminal acts more comprehensively -- rather than defining crime as simply law breaking, it recognizes that offenders harm victims, communities and even themselves. Second, it involves more parties in responding to crime -- rather than giving key roles only to government and the offender; it includes victims and communities as well. Finally, it measures success differently -- rather than measuring how much punishment is inflicted, it measures how