Society’s Response to Crime
In the recent past, there has been an increase in the number ofcriminal activities in the United States and other parts of theworld. This has evolved into a critical aspect and characteristic ofthe modern society. Several factors contribute to the increase incrime. Additionally, communities have responded differently to thechallenges associated with the impacts of deviant behaviors. Amongthem are mitigation measures that are aimed at deterrence andpunishment of the offenders. This has resulted in several models ofjustice, mainly restorative justice, procedural justice, and moraljustice (Tyler, 2006). Each of these approaches has been applied indifferent contexts with conflicting results. This paper looks at thevarious models of justice and their relationship with the rate ofrecidivism and the psychological theory of crime.
Restorative justice and recidivism
Restorative justice is the most common approach to criminalactivities in the modern society. Although the strategies andstructures used to promote it in the society have changedprogressively over the years, it has existed for a long time. Thefundamental principle of restorative justice is the personalizationof the crime by involving the offender, victim and the community inmediating a restitution agreement. The three parties play a role inthe process where the offender seeks to redeem him or herself whiletaking significant responsibility for the offense. This gives them anopportunity to correct their mistakes and avoid the deviant behaviorin the future. Both the community and the victims ensure that thereis a dialogue and therefore, satisfaction with the outcome(Johnstone, 2013).
Restorative justice can be used to deal with a broad range ofchallenges affecting the modern society. It has been effective inaddressing offenses that are as direct consequences of failures inthe social systems. Reconciliation commissions have been used tohandle widespread injustices that affect a large group of people withsimilar characteristics. The social justice allows the victims andthe perpetrators to negotiate and provide an opportunity to resolvethe underlying problems. For example, poor sufferers can bring forththeir hopes and plans for transition while the offenders experiencethe impacts of their actions. Consequently, they can be accountablefor the offenses as well as intends to ensure that similar incidencesare avoided in the future (Johnstone, 2013).
Most importantly, restorative justice has been applied in criminalcases and the correctional systems. In the modern criminal justicesystem, victims play a significant role in ensuring that offenderstake responsibility for their actions. They testify in criminal caseswhere they are given a chance to describe the incident and how it hashad an impact on their lives (Johnstone, 2013). On the other hand,the wrongdoer is allowed to give his or her side of the story andoffer compensation to the people affected by the misdeed. Althoughensuring that the offender takes responsibility for the victim’ssuffering is an alternative to criminal proceedings, it is alsoapplicable to the correction system. It has a critical impact on therehabilitation of incarcerated individuals and integration into thecommunity after the jail term. Focusing on the relationship betweenthe victim or society and the offender directly impacts on theeffectiveness of the justice system (Johnstone, 2013).
One of the principle aims of restorative justice is the reduction ofrecidivism rates by focusing on the relationship between the offenderand the victim. Consequently, this has formed a major topic of studyamong criminologists. Proponents of restorative justice have arguedthat it deters future crimes and reduces the incidences ofreoffending. According to the Sam Houston State University report,programs that focus on mediation between the offender and victims,where the community is involved are more efficient in reducing therates of recidivism. The strategies are more effective amongdelinquent juveniles when compared to traditional methods of dealingwith deviance. In one study involving 551 youths, it was establishedthat 31 percent of those who were in minimum restorative justiceprograms committed new offenses compared to about 50 percent of thosewho went through the traditional juvenile court system. The rates canbe reduced further through the adoption of more intensive andcomprehensive programs (Sam Houston University, 2016).
Procedural justice, moral justice, and recidivism,
Procedural justice is also a standard approach to crime in the modernsociety. Its most important principles are the legitimacy of theauthority and obligations of individuals. The idea is based on theneed for a process that is fairness in the resolution of disputesthrough due process and natural justice. However, its application isnot limited to legal contexts only. In the modern society, proceduraljustice has a direct influence on the relationships and interactionsbetween the public and the law enforcement agencies, especially thepolice. It has a direct impact on the opinions and views of thepolicing strategies and personnel and the willingness of the publicto obey the law. Consequently, it shapes the community perceptionabout criminal activities as well as their roles in preventing crimes(Sabag & Schmitt, 2016).
Procedural justice is founded on four main pillars of naturaljustice. The law enforcement agencies should always treat the publicwith due respect and fairness. Secondly, during encounters withpolice, individuals should be given the right to be heard. Thirdly,the decision-making process should involve a neutral adjudicator.Finally, the motives of the entire system should be trustworthy inthe eyes of the people. In the absence of the above aspects, therelationship between the society and the authorities is compromised.Lack of confidence in the system due to bias and dishonestyundermines the feeling of being obliged to obey the law (Sabag &Schmitt, 2016).
There is a linkage between procedural justice and the rate ofrecidivism in the society. Just policing is critical to ensuring thatthere is a good will, legitimacy and community improvement inpolicing activities. If there is a public perception that the lawenforcement agencies have the authority to dictate what is right orwrong, the rates of crime will progressively decline. The cooperationbetween the society and the agencies has a direct influence on therate of recidivism. This is because the society approves the decisionand collaborates in dealing with offenders. However, it is importantto note that this applies to crimes that affect the entire communityor infringes the norms in the dominant groups in society. Thus, itwill not be effective in dealing with conflicts between sectionswithin the civilization because the protagonists are unlikely tolegitimize the authority of the police (Sabag & Schmitt, 2016).
Moral justice refers to the subjective view of crime to determine thewrongness or rightness of the act. Several morality theories can beused to explain the extent to which the action of wrong or right. Forexample, some are based on the duty of the individual while othersfocus on the consequences of the actions. Nonetheless, the subjectiveview of ‘wrong and right’ rather than the law is the centralconcept in this approach to criminal behaviors. While it is useful indealing with social issues, it is not the most appropriate method ofdealing with crime in the contemporary world (Sabag & Schmitt,2016). For example, it can play a critical role in tackling poverty,wealth distribution and informal discrimination. On the other hand,it will not directly affect the rate of recidivism. Nonetheless, itis important to appreciate the fact that personal morality and ethicsprovided an essential foundation on which the justice system isconstructed. Therefore, other approaches to crime are useful if theyperpetuate the social value derived from morals. This is because itis the source of internal drive that brings about a sense of guiltand responsibility. This motivates the offender to act morally andreduce incidences of recidivism (Sabag & Schmitt, 2016).
Justice and physiological theory of crime
Several physiological theories explain criminal behaviors in themodern society. Their main principle is the fact that individual andsocial factors that influence persons resulting in criminal conduct.The most important aspect is the role of development in explainingdeviance throughout the lifespan of a criminal. The common assumptionin these theories is the fact the susceptibility of an individual tocommit crimes as well as other constructs is constant. The theoriesare also founded on the hypothesis that offending is one aspect ofantisocial behavior, which includes other undesirable social evilssuch as drug abuse and risky lifestyles (Akers, 2013).
Majority of psychological theories of crime explain deviant behaviorbased on the development of mechanisms that prevent offending. Forexample, personal conscience as a result of parental punishment orsocialization process can inhibit antisocial behaviors. One of themost important aspect of these theories is cognitive development,which has direct on the decision making process. This is based on theassumption that an individual makes a choice to take an action byconsidering either the morality, law or the consequences.Consequently, offending is a rational choice by the individual.Usually, a person commits a crime if the perceived benefits exceedsthe foreseeable costs (Akers, 2013)
Although there is a linkage between other approaches to crime andpsychological theories, restorative justice is more relevant. It ismore effective in explaining and dealing with crimes with directvictims, such as assault and violence. It aims at addressing theimpacts of the harm caused by the crime, bringing the offender,victim and the community together, and enhancing the relationshipthrough transformation and rehabilitation. For example, the deviantperson is able to understand the impacts of his action byexperiencing the suffering of other members of the society. If he orshe is able to take responsibility of his actions, the likelihood ofreoffending is minimized. In addition to participating in reformingthe criminal, the process ensures that the victims are not turnedinto offenders through revenge (Sabag & Schmitt, 2016).
The modern society is very dynamic, which has resulted in increasedincidences of criminal behaviors. Consequently, divergent approachesto deviance have been introduced. These models are mainly based ontheories that explains criminal unlawful or immoral acts and areeffective depending on a wide range of factors. The main concernamong criminologists is the rate of recidivism. While proceduraljustice and moral justice are applicable depending on the nature ofcrime and offender, restorative justice is more effective ininhibiting reoffending.
Akers, R. (2013). Criminological Theories: Introduction andEvaluation. New York, Routledge.
Johnstone, G. (2013). Restorative Justice: Ideas, Values, Debates,New York, Routledge.
Sabag, K. & Schmitt, M. (2016). Handbook of social justicetheory and research. New York: Springer.
Sam Houston University, 2016, Research reveals restorative justicereduce recidivism,https://www.forensicmag.com/news/2016/07/research-reveals-restorative-justice-reduces-recidivism
Tyler, T. (2006). Restorative Justice and Procedural Justice: Dealingwith Rule Breaking. Journal of social issues, 62(2), 307-326.
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