Discussion: restorative justice as treatment


The traditional criminal justice model views legal sanctions as the end result of criminal prosecution. In this model, the offender is arrested, possibly jailed, tried, and then sentenced. This process continues to be the most common of all criminal justice models and can be found in almost any criminal justice system across the nation. It is an offender-centered process in which the terms punishment and sanction are used interchangeably, and this process maintains a focus on offenders and the wrongs they have perpetrated.

Alternatively, the restorative justice model is based on the premise that some legal proceedings would be better handled through less formal processes that would have a better outcome for all involved parties. The restorative justice model unites the offender and victim in a setting where healing is the primary goal. Although certainly not appropriate for all cases, restorative justice interventions can foster a closer community through sit-down mediation sessions with victims and offenders. Additionally, restorative justice interventions foster relationships among all involved by strengthening community bonds, which ideally reduces the likelihood of future disruptions.

Restorative justice is still considered a fairly new approach; however, it is growing in popularity. The academic literature concerning restorative justice illustrates efficacy, and social change pundits have embraced it as an alternative to traditional criminal justice actions and sanctions.

To prepare for this Discussion:

  • Conduct an      Internet search or a search in the Walden library for two peer-reviewed      journal articles related to restorative justice as a treatment approach      for forensic populations. Think about the arguments for and against using      a restorative justice treatment approach with these populations.
  • Think about      your own position on the use of restorative justice programs as a      treatment approach for forensic populations.

Hagemann, O., & Knezevic, M. (2015). Social work in theory and practice of restorative justice. LJETOPIS SOCIJALNOG RADA, 22(1), 5–14. 

Ryan, T. G., & Ruddy, S. (2017). Restorative justice: A changing community response. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 7(2), 253-262.

Sliva, S. M., & Samimi, C. (2018). Social work and prison labor: A restorative model. Social work, 63(2), 153-160.

Tsagaris, G. S., & Welch-Brewer, C. L. (2016). Teaching and incorporating practice models in a human behavior in the social environment (HBSE) course. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 26(5), 470–487. 

van Wormer, K. (2009). Restorative justice as social justice for victims of gendered violence: A standpoint feminist perspective. Social Work, 54(2), 107–116. 

van Wormer, K., Springer, D. W., & Maschi, T. (2012). Forensic social work: Current and emerging developments. In C. N. Dulmus & K. M. Sowers (Eds.), Social work fields of practice: Historical trends, professional issues, and future opportunities. (pp. 207–244). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

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