A Gauranteed Justice System Essay Research Paper

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A Gauranteed Justice System Essay, Research Paper A Guaranteed Effective Justice System One evening in April of 1998 in Fort Collins, Colorado, Jorel Davis, a 15 year old, had gone bowling with a group of friends and stopped at a local ice cream parlor. While enjoying their ice cream in front of the store, gun shots were fired from a car that was driving by. Jorel s injuries to her face resulted in permanent blindness in one of her eyes from the paintball that hit her ( The Paintball Case ). The 15 year old boy, Justin Barton, who fired the gun, was riding around the town in a Volkswagon Jetta with a group of friends and jokingly fired into the group sitting in front of the ice cream parlor. He was not aware that his actions would result in something so serious. This case was

handled through restorative justice. By the time of the sentencing hearing, Justin had met with Jorel s family many times, and had become very close with them. He had offered Jorel the parts of his eye that would restore her sight, and he had headed a campaign for paintball safety in his community. Most of his actions were self-driven, only as a result of understanding through restorative justice what he had really done. Justin not only understood the consequences of his actions, but he also understood the feelings of his victim and her family. Justin was also sentenced to 45 days in jail and 2 years of probation ( The Paintball Case ). Restorative justice is all about fairness, accountability, forgiveness, healing, and closure (Miller). Walter Drew Smith, the statewide

Restorative Justice Coordinator for the New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission, says Authentic restorative justice makes things right. It is more than a set of programs; it is a way of understanding juvenile justice that determines how we practice it. Restorative justice has a history with long traditional and cultural roots. Cultures have used the concept of restorative justice for hundreds of years. Making things right restores a balance to all that are affected by crime (Smirh). Restorative justice classifies crime as a violation against humanity, rather than against the legal system (Viano). Restorative justice addresses an offense at several different levels. It involves the offender, victim and community. It allows the community and the victim(s) to take an active role in

the justice process. The community and victim, along with professional state and legal professionals participate in a system that is directed towards offender accountability and the healing of the victim and community ( Tutorial ). The history of restorative justice dates back to the Babylonians and the Code of Hamburabi in 1700 B.C. It was followed by Roman law, but was replaced by the current judicial system in 1066 (Turpin). Even in the Southern United States, until the mid-19th century, the community played an important part in the justice system by strictly adhering to the community s norms and enforcing them. The member of the community who violated the norms was to appear in front of the congregation and confess their sins. Sincere repentance was all that was necessary for

forgiveness, reconciliation, and reintegration to the community (Viano). Many people s interests have turned towards restorative justice as a way of dealing with crimes because of frustration with the dominant system. Many feel that the justice system allows the suspect to escape from accountability and punishment through formal court procedures, not to mention the impersonality of a trial conducted in a distant location. Truly, our judicial system no longer deals with issues on a personal level of the community. The cases are turned over to professionals who are sometimes not part of the community or affected by the crime (Viano). This is not an ideal manner to deal with the issues that affect communities and scar them for a long time to come. Restorative justice actively