Restorative Justice: Definition and Meaning

A different approach to justice called restorative justice involves statutory agencies actively working with the parties and the community. Its primary goals are to rebuild or recreate a functioning community that aids both offenders and victims, as well as to give victims the tools they need to engage in dialogue or mediation with offenders. This method takes a comprehensive approach to criminal behaviour and acknowledges the value of community initiative and participation in preventing and combating crime. It is utilised by the entire criminal justice system.

What is the meaning of Restorative Justice?

Restorative Justice is a type of alternative justice in which society acknowledges an offence and seeks restitution. Restoration of victim losses, holding perpetrators accountable for the harm they have inflicted, and fostering societal harmony are its main goals. In restorative justice, both the victim and the offender take an active part, with the victim voicing their thoughts or opinions and contributing to the decision-making process.

It's a style of crime-solving strategy in which statutory authorities work actively with the parties involved as well as the society at large. Instead of being a specific method, it is a collection of ideas that may guide any organisation or group's overall approach to dealing with crime.

Objectives of Restorative Justice

The main goals of restorative justice are −

  • Paying great attention to the victims' material, financial, emotional, and social needs or requirements (as well as those who are closely related to the victim and may be similarly impacted);

  • To stop repeat offences by reintegrating criminals into society;

  • To encourage offenders to take ownership of their behaviour;

  • To reestablish or rebuild a bustling neighbourhood that actively works to prevent crime and promotes the rehabilitation of offenders and victims;

  • To offer a way of preventing the expense and delay of legal justice escalating.

Assumptions of Restorative Justice

The following presumptions form the foundation of restorative justice −

  • Social ties and situations within society are the root causes of this crime;

  • That societies' efforts to address the factors that contribute to crime are a key component of crime prevention;

  • That if the parties are not allowed to engage personally, the consequences of the crime cannot be adequately resolved for them;

  • That the administration of justice must be adaptable enough to take into account the individual requirements, circumstances, and possibilities for action of each case;

  • For justice agencies to operate at their highest levels of effectiveness and efficiency, cooperation and shared goals are crucial.

  • That justice entails a balanced strategy in which no one goal is permitted to take precedence over the others.

Aims and Scope of Restorative Justice

The goal of restorative justice is to mend the harm done to relationships between people and society as well as to heal the wounds suffered by victims and offenders. It involves all parties, including victims, offenders, and the communities that have been impacted, and it promotes compensation for the victim rather than retaliation.

The trade is actively directed by the victims, who also specify the duties and obligations of the offenders. The goal of restorative justice is to comprehend crime in its social context and look at the underlying causes of violence and crime. It is a proactive, preventative approach. It is predicated on the idea that social factors give rise to crime and acknowledges the fact that criminals frequently experience harm.

Both the victim and the perpetrator must heal, and the needs of the offender are met with dignity. Restorative justice should be integrated with legal justice to improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of justice.

Advantages of Restorative Justice

The following advantages of restorative justice outweigh those of standard criminal justice methods −

  • It takes a broad stance on crimes − It takes a complete perspective on criminal behaviour, acknowledging that criminals injure victims, communities, and even themselves in addition to breaching the law.

  • Other parties are involved − Victims and communities are given major roles in addition to the government and the perpetrator.

  • It uses a new metric to determine success − damage repaired or avoided, as opposed to the severity of the punishment meted out.

Principles of Restorative Justice

Restorative justice is founded on predetermined values −

  • Encounter − Provide venues for gatherings of victims, offenders, and interested community members to talk about the crime and its effects.

  • Modifies − Require offenders to make up for their wrongdoing by taking appropriate action.

  • Reintegration − Attempt to transform criminals and victims back into whole, productive members of society.

  • Inclusion − Provide parties with an interest in a particular crime the chance to take part in finding a solution.

Due to the methods utilised by these programmes to address and remedy the harm caused by crime, they have come to be connected with restorative justice and these are −


Restorative justice focuses on how crime destroys relationships in the context of community, holding criminals accountable to the victim and the community. Restorative justice decreases victim desire for violent retribution as well as recurrent offences.

The process of restorative justice entails accepting accountability for one's conduct and acting to make amends for any harm done to the victim or the community. It comprises victim assistance, restitution, community service, face-to-face meetings between victims and offenders, victim impact panels, and offender skill-building workshops.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Why is restorative justice better than punishment?

Ans. Restorative justice views justice as "repair" to the harm brought on by crime and conflict rather than "punishment." To collectively create a just conclusion, it is essential to comprehend and address the needs of each individual involved as well as the larger society.

Q2. Who benefits most from restorative justice?

Ans. People who have done wrong, avail benefit. They appreciate the chance to express their regret, show it via their behaviours, undo the harm they have done, and learn more about it, all of which contribute to greater regret. RJ participants say that their opinions towards the police, the law, and justice are more positive.

Q3. What is an example of restorative justice?

Ans. Mediation and conflict-resolution programmes, family group conferences, victim-impact panels, victim-offender mediation, circle sentencing, and community reparative boards are some of the most commonly used restorative justice programmes.

Updated on: 14-Apr-2023


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