The goals of restorative justice programs are to manage behaviour of the criminal and to respond to specific actions and damage caused to the victim in an appropriate way. While the traditional justice system focuses primarily on punishing the violators, often regardless of future impacts on the victims, restorative justice allows both to compensate the damage to the victims and to help integrate the offender back into the society (Siegel, 2011).
Commonly used methods of restorative justice include conferencing, victim offender mediation, assistance for victims and ex-offenders, healing circles, community service and restitution (Liebmann, 2007).
In David’s case, it will be effective to combine community mediation (or victim-offender conferencing, depending on the number of victims willing to participate in the restorative process), followed by direct victim-offender mediation and a set of actions for repairing the harm caused by David’s crimes should be established during these meetings (Walgrave & Bazemore, 1999). This set of actions is likely to include written apology, community service aimed at removing the damage caused to the neighborhood, return of the stolen items of value and tools and financial compensation in the cases where it’s not possible to compensate for the damage in some other way.
Furthermore, it is also recommended to provide family conferencing for David and his mother, and to help David’s mother to become more aware of her son’s behaviour and development.
The sequence of actions should be the following:
- one or several victim-offender conference sessions should be held, where the victims would explain their feelings and confusion, and describe the damage caused by David both for the people and for the community;
- if it is required, personal victim-offender sessions should be organized for David and some of the victims;
- David should formulate oral and written apology to the victims and to the community;
- A contract establishing the ways of compensation should be signed by David and the group of victims.
The contract is likely to include actions on repainting the damaged garages and sides of buildings, and actions aimed at compensating the damage to the vehicles (e.g. repairing or some community work aimed at earning the appropriate finance). If it is not possible to compensate the damage by David’s actions, financial restitution should be mentioned in the contract, along with the period of paying this restitution (Siegel, 2011). If some of the victims could provide temporary job for David to cover the damage and to earn a small sum of money in future, this would be greatly helpful as well. This set of restorative actions would help David to realize him crime as well as its consequences, and to take the responsibility for it.
Liebmann, M. (2007). Restorative justice: how it works. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Siegel, L.J. (2011). Criminology. Cengage Learning.
Walgrave, L. & Bazemore, S.G. (1999). Restorative juvenile justice: repairing the harm of youth crime. Criminal Justice Press.