My priest was recently talking to me about her interest in the concept of restorative justice, which I understand has some similarities and roots in the Family Group Conferencing that is common in New Zealand. Here's a description from the wiki page:
I find this to be a pretty compelling model for justice-making, especially compared to the prison industrial complex that we've got going on now. I'm curious about what others think of it (reading through the wiki page might be worth your time if this snippet doesn't do it for you).Restorative justice (also sometimes called reparative justice) is an approach to justice that focuses on the needs of the victims and the offenders, as well as the involved community, instead of satisfying abstract legal principles or punishing the offender. Victims take an active role in the process, while offenders are encouraged to take responsibility for their actions, "to repair the harm they've done—by apologizing, returning stolen money, or community service". Restorative justice involves both victim and offender and focuses on their personal needs. In addition, it provides help for the offender in order to avoid future offences. It is based on a theory of justice that considers crime and wrongdoing to be an offence against an individual or community, rather than the state. Restorative justice that fosters dialogue between victim and offender shows the highest rates of victim satisfaction and offender accountability.
When and in what contexts is this likely to work best?
When and in what contexts is this likely to fail?
What cultural beliefs have to be present in order for this to work?
Are there crimes for which this model would be more or less appropriate?
Have at it!