‘Restorative justice’ isn’t only about fixing the flaws and making up for the imperfections in existing legal institutions; it’s about putting the repair of victims, offender, and the communities of which they are a part at the center of justice (pg 51).
The definition of restorative justice is a system of criminal justice that focuses on the rehabilitation of offenders through reconciliation with victims and the community at large. Spelman sees it as repairing the offenders by bringing the victims and communities into the justice system. Restorative justice is one end of justice, and the other end is Capital punishment. The death penalty has been a big debate in the United States. Thirty states still have the death penalty, and twenty have abolished it. On August 2, 2016, the Delaware Supreme Court decided that the state’s capital sentencing procedures were unconstitutional. This is a fresh issue in the United States. The capital punishment decides to put someone guilty to death, which is completely against what restorative justice stands for. Instead of rehabilitating a prisoner, they are not given a chance to change. But could capital punishment be a part of restorative justice?
The restorative justice approach not only hopes to bring attention to the multiple locations of the wound inflicted by a criminal act; it aims to involve all those affected by the act in the work necessary to carry out the appropriate repairs (pg 59).
Repairing the victim is a part of restorative justice. If the capital punishment of the offender helps the victim repair themselves, is it worth it for the justice system to take away the rehabilitation of the offender? I believe that justice should have the victim in their best interest, even if it doesn’t always work that way. States that have abolished the capital punishment see it as unconstitutional, but it could be unconstitutional to take a victims way of repair away.
Rips should be mended in such a way to suggest that they never were there in the first place. But in the eyes of some of the critics of restorative justice, democracy is not about efficiency, harmony, and homogeneity and should not tolerate attempts to cover over the history of conflict (pg 76).
Democracies should have their citizens in their best interest because it is a system of government by the whole population. Capital punishment can be seen as covering up a crime, and doesn’t bring the population any conflict resolution in history. The capital punishment may only bring resolution to the victim. The victim should have more rights in this situation, but the offender is still a citizen in this democracy. As more states abolish capital punishment, restorative justice is growing stronger. Restorative justice could become the only justice left.