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Restorative Justice Juvenile Offenders Essay

2021 words - 9 pages

The general disillusion with the present punishment-based and rehabilitative approaches to crime control has created a political climate ripe for reform. A new move based on the premise of accountability and remedial has great appeal. While restorative justice seems to guarantee a distinct third alternative, the imprecise use of the emerging "vocabulary of restoration" has created as much confusion as clarity about the fundamental concepts of the new paradigm. Restorative justice has come to mean all things to all people. We agree with Walgrave and Bazemore: "A coherent definition and vision should serve as a unifying focus for reflection and experimentation among practitioners and ...view middle of the document...

The comparison of the two distinct definitions should help to clarify differences and help to define the parameters within which to carve out a mid-range theory of restorative justice.We propose a "Purist Model" of restorative justice that is consistent with both Marshall's definition and evolving restorative justice practices. It is not intended in describing the proposed model as purist to mean that it is the only pure model possible consistent with theory, nor to suggest that programs fitting within the definition will operate in an ideal manner. Rather, a purist model of restorative justice is one that includes only those elements of the restorative paradigm without elements of the obedience (retributive/deterrent) and treatment paradigms. The more conservative or pure a model of restorative justice, the less well received it will be by those invested in practices deemed to be outside the definition. However, the development of a theoretically conservative model is important precisely because of the vagueness with which terms are being used. Theory needs to be based on correct thinking, not expediency.This paper considers the current theoretical context within which to develop a workable mid-range restorative justice theory. By "mid-range," we mean a theory that does not attempt to explain most of social or political behaviour, but explains sufficient to encompass the phenomenon of crime/harmful wrongdoing and social responses to it. Next, we propose a stake-holder analysis to structure the discussion of injuries and obligations within the restorative justice paradigm. The Purist model of restorative justice that has the characteristics criticized by the Maximalists is then described. After responding to the criticisms, we raise similar concerns about the Maximalist model. Finally, a typology of restorative justice practice is proposed to distinguish the restorative from the not restorative, and between fully, mostly, and partly restorative programs.If the challenge to construct a maximalist model of restorative juvenile justice and this reply are to be more than merely differences in opinion, there needs to be a constructive framework within which to carry on the discussion. It is necessary to place the issues within the context of the social sciences. To do so, we need to be clear on a number of scientific concepts. The terms paradigm and theory are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are not the same. "Paradigms are general frameworks or viewpoints: literally points of view. Paradigms provide ways of looking at life. A theory is a systematic set of interrelated statements that intends to explain some aspect of social life. Thus, theories flesh out and specify paradigms" (Babbie, 1995, pp.).If restorative justice is to develop as a paradigm, postulates, theories, propositions and concepts all need to become established. A postulate of restorative justice, for example is that crime injures people and relationships. A theory of...

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