Source: (2005) Final paper, Professor Madigan, Spring. Downloaded 21 October 2005.

In the United States, our criminal law system defines crime as acts against the State rather than as acts against individuals or communities at large. In these definitional parameters, we often overlook the unmet needs of victims and society after a crime is committed. In our current system, we are preoccupied with retribution instead of restoring the victims and healing the harm done. From here stems the goals of restorative justice: an alternative to the typical criminal justice process. 1 Restorative justice is concerned with healing the wounded victim: financially, emotionally, and socially.2 It expects offenders to rectify the harms they have inflicted, but then seeks to reintegrate both parties back into society as contributing, law-abiding citizens.3 Restorative justice seeks to keep those most effected by the crime directly involved with the process of responding to it.4 It is about looking to the root of crime in its social context, and trying to break the cycle.5 The process empowers victims, allows offenders to repent and heal, and restores relationships within the community.(excerpt)

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