In the present criminal justice environment of rapid change, research is essential to the success of any new movement or ‘wave’ such as restorative justice (Bonta, Wallace-Capretta & Rooney, 1998; La Prairie, 1999). Unfortunately, empirical scrutiny of the outcomes of such movements are rarely encouraged. What do we actually know about the effectiveness of restorative programming? And how do we define success?
There are several obvious definitions of a successful program. First, since public safety remains the paramount concern of the criminal justice system, programs should attempt to reduce recidivism. If a program were to actually increase the chances of further criminal behaviour, most would agree that this would not be a success. Second, the needs of victims should be adequately addressed. This is easily measured through controlled experiments testing the satisfaction levels of victims in the traditional system compared to a restorative program. Third, the effects of a program on the community should be considered. For example, does the program reduce fear of crime and increase the perception of safety within a neighbourhood?
Unfortunately, we could not locate published research on the effects of restorative justice on the criminal justice system. This is a significant gap in our current knowledge. We do not know how the increasing number of restorative justice programs will affect the role of police, attorneys, or court and correctional officers. The formal criminal justice system is, in all probability, experiencing significant changes as we move towards a secondary community-based stream of justice in Canada.
This area of research also appears to be neglected in the literature. Are the decreases we are witnessing in the Canadian crime rate a reflection of actual decreases in criminal behaviour or are we seeing the effects of pre-charge diversion programs, such as restorative justice practices? Should we be developing additional methods of data collection to adequately reflect the actual crime rates? Comparisons to previous years become rather difficult as more and more offenders are processed through non-traditional channels.
Stambaugh, Hollis, David S. Beaupre, David J. Icove, Richard Baker, Wayne Cassady, and Wayne P. Williams. 2001. Electronic crime needs assessment for state and local law enforcement. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice.
Assignment: Write about two crimes and their respective punishments during the Revolutionary Period (1718–1797). Explain one social and one political influence these crimes and punishments had on the current U.S. criminal justice system.
Write a 1,400-word paper in which you evaluate past, present, and future trends in the interface between human services and the criminal justice system and criminal justice connections with surrounding society. In your paper include the following: Identify recent (within the last 10 years) and contemporary issues affecting human services provided within criminal justice system. Identify at least two therapeutic trends that may affect future human services as provided within the criminal justice system. Explain how these two issues and trends affect society.
The rise of civil forfeiture has, in some areas, proved of great value. It allows the government to extract swift penalties from white-collar criminals and offer restitution to victims of fraud; since 2012, the Department of Justice has turned over more than $1.5 billion in forfeited assets to four hundred thousand crime victims, often in cases of corporate criminality. Federal agents have also used forfeiture to go after ruthless migrant smugglers, organized-crime tycoons, and endangered-species poachers, stripping them of their illicit gains. Global Witness, the anti-corruption group, recently cheered the Justice Department’s civil-forfeiture action targeting the son of Equatorial Guinea’s dictator, which sought his Malibu mansion, Gulfstream jet, and some two million dollars’ worth of Michael Jackson memorabilia, including a bejewelled white glove.
The lawyers figured that such misconduct had already been recorded. In Tenaha, the police station and cars were outfitted with video-surveillance equipment. And Boatright, for one, said that on the night of her detention Washington told her that the whole thing was being captured on film. Garrigan had requested footage of traffic stops made by Washington and his partner, along with related video from the station, but got nowhere. Then, after the Tenaha lawsuit caught the attention of the national media, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice launched its own criminal investigation into the alleged abuses. Several months later, in October, 2009, large stacks of optical disks were finally turned over. Garrigan and Guillory now had hundreds of hours of digital footage to sort through. Garrigan hired a colleague’s adult son to sit at a large oval wood-veneer table with a laptop and a supply of Starbucks, sorting through it all. (He’s still at it.)
But Marie Crawford, the councilwoman, had begun to notice a few things that didn’t sit right with her. “The lady with the Christmas packages, she was in jail for one night, and then they let her right out,” Crawford told me. It affronted her sense of justice that someone who appeared to be a major money launderer was swiftly released and never hit with criminal charges. Something similar happened with a Nashville man found to be transporting more than eighty-one thousand dollars and a large stash of cocaine in the trunk of his Chevrolet, and another mule hauling ninety-five thousand dollars.
Without the Criminal Justice System to administer deserved punishment, this country would be disorganized, unstructured, cruel, unjustified and a chaotic habitat for its citizens.
It is unanimously agreed that the aim of the criminal justice system is to provide equal justice for all according to the law, by processing of cases impartially, fairly and efficiently with the minimum but necessary use of public resources.