Understanding the Concept of "Restorative Justice"

Recently, there has been a lot of attention on the concept of restorative justice in Florida. Also known as "reparative justice," this alternative form of prosecuting crime has been successfully used in communities like Baltimore, MD, Minneapolis, MN and Oakland, CA. Until recently, however, this controversial method had not been utilized in the Florida criminal justice system. This concept considers the harm that was done and emphasizes an agreement between all parties concerned—including the victim(s), the offender and the community that have been affected by the crime. Instead of handling the case through the traditional method of trial, wherein the defendant would either be found guilty or not guilty, this alternative form of prosecution aims to mend the ramifications of a crime in a constructive setting—namely by considering how the wrongdoing has affected a specific individual and/or community, rather than the state.

In essence, restorative-justice diversion programs foster a dialogue between the victim and the offender. This subsequently allows each party to work out an arrangement in which the victim can come to terms with the fact that the offender has taken responsibility for their actions and accepted suitable punishment—which is typically less than what would have been imposed by the traditional criminal justice system. This method is most commonly applied to non-violent or "less serious" crimes like property offenses or theft crimes, since the wrong can be clearly righted by returning and/or replacing the damaged property, but these diversion programs have been designed to facilitate more serious crimes, as well. In order for this process to work, however, each party must be willing to participate in a restorative-community conference—in which each party would come to a consensus about how the offender will repair the harm that they have inflicted.

If the offender is willing and able to complete restitution, the case can be resolved outside of the adversarial legal system. While the implementation of reparative justice is rare, studies have shown that this method has been known to yield some of the highest rates of victim satisfaction and offender accountability. For this reason, you should not hesitate to discuss your options with a St. Augustine criminal defense lawyer from Taylor & Taylor Attorneys if you have recently been charged with a crime. Our firm is well-qualified to defend you in the most effective manner possible—whether that includes going to trial or initiating the process of reparative justice—so we encourage you to learn more by contacting our firm today. We are ready and willing to provide you with the aggressive representation that you will need, but it is up to you to take the first step. For this reason, we ask you to call today at (888) 387-9958 and speak with a member of our legal team.

Categories: Criminal Defense

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