Criminal Justice System

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‘The application of restorative justice principles is strategically valuable in addressing youth offending.’ Evaluate the soundness of this statement with reference to two specific youth offences. Restorative justice is a relatively new approach to tackling youth crime, this new way of thinking arose around the 1990’s and is now a key component in the government’s dealings with youth offenders. It was developed to divert young people away from the traditional pathways of the juvenile justice system [ (Cunneen, 2007, p. 331) ] and is seen as presenting an answer to the failings of the criminal justice system. The restorative justice approach brings about much debate as to the benefits it provides for the victims of crime, youth offenders and the community. However, research that has been done to date shows that restorative justice principles are strategically valuable in addressing youth offences, because it has a positive effect on the offender’s behaviour and attitude as the focus is not on their faults or weaknesses, but on repairing the harm that was caused by the crime [ (Van Ness, 1996, p. 23) ]. Other elements of restorative justice principles are offering restitution to victims and communities as this is where most harm is done and not leaving all control in the hands of government bodies, but allowing active participation by victims, communities and offenders [ (Van Ness, 1996, p. 23) ]. In an article by Kim Brook, the mother to a young female victim of a violent crime committed by a 16 year old boy, she discusses the impact on the victim and victim’s family after surviving a violent attack [ (2006) ]. Brooks talks about the questions and the need for answers from the offender she goes on to say that once these needs were addressed and victim-offender mediation with the offender concluded the she felt the process was empowering and that
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