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Analysis of “The Little Book of Restorative Justice”

Definition of the Concept of “Restorative Justice”

At the present time, there are different approaches to justice, although restorative justice is considered one of the most effective ones. In fact, this model is based on the idea that it is crucial to arrange a meeting between the victim and the person who committed a crime in order to create a consensus. In other words, this theory is intended to transform people, relationships, and communities with the help of cooperative processes.

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The book Restorative Justice is based on the idea to increase the level of awareness when it comes to the way justice should be restored. In fact, one of the main principles of this model is that both the offender and the victim should take responsibility for resolving the conflict and bringing justice to society. In other words, the primary purpose of restorative justice is to repair the harm that has been done to interpersonal relationships (Zehr and Gohar). Accordingly, by providing offenders with the opportunity to understand the harm they have caused, there is a chance to minimize the number of similar crimes in the future.

Considering that the American justice system is associated with a variety of issues, it is essential to take appropriate measures in order to address this problem from different perspectives. For instance, to achieve this goal, the judges are required to analyze each case by outlining the case’s procedural history and expressing integrity. If this recommendation is followed, the whole community would be able to benefit from peoples’ transformation as integral parts of society. Subsequently, restorative justice can be considered an effective approach that is focused on the rehabilitation of offenders with the purpose of identifying and addressing arising issues.

In the book, Howard discusses specific features of the current criminal justice system, as well as its impact on individuals and society as a whole. As a result, the author highlights that restorative justice is the only model that can be successfully applied to transform communities and countries. Based on the primary idea of this approach, both offender and the victim should be involved in the process of conflict resolution. Simultaneously, each offender should face specific penalties that are frequently used as teaching tools. In this way, the person is likely to embrace personal accountability and make appropriate conclusions regarding personal actions. Furthermore, the author of the book states that the restoration punishment is the only tool that can be used with the purpose of encouraging offenders to compensate for the loss of the victim. In case the model of restorative justice is utilized accurately, both parties are predicted to be satisfied with the outcomes.

Critical Evaluation of the Book

This book plays a vital role when it comes to alternatives to the current American justice system. In fact, the author emphasizes the transformation of stakeholders who have been found guilty due to their offenses. Apart from this, the book provides comprehensive information about the differences between criminal justice and restorative justice, thereby demonstrating the role that the last approach plays under the circumstances of unstable economic and political states. Whether it is a minor crime or a brutal crime, the author of The Little Book of Restorative Justice takes into consideration all of them in order to show how crimes of different severity can be addressed in the US. In spite of some disadvantages, the entire restorative justice process is unlikely to cause damage to both parties that are involved, as it is risk assessed. In fact, a trained restorative justice facilitator takes appropriate measures to discuss each case from different points of view and demonstrate the impact that it caused on the life of the offender and the victim.

One of the main advantages of this book is that it highlights that the American criminal justice system does not meet the needs of victims, offenders, and communities. Instead of bringing people together and addressing existing legal issues, the justice system mainly accentuates anger, hatred, and separateness. In this way, the author demonstrates the relevance of restorative justice under the circumstances of the development of a poor-quality justice system (Zehr and Gohar). Even though restorative justice was firstly applied at the end of the past century, it has already managed to improve the state of the criminal system in the whole country. In the context of the main benefits, restorative justice provides both victims and offenders with a high satisfaction level and reduces crime victims’ desire for violent revenge. In addition, this approach is beneficial in terms of reducing repeat offending and crime victims’ post-traumatic stress symptoms. Therefore, this model can be considered a more suitable approach to the criminal justice system than the traditional one.

This book can be used for the general increase of awareness from the perspective of the current criminal justice system, although it can also be used for other purposes. For instance, taking into consideration that the book includes information regarding programs and practices of restorative justice, as well as their significance in modern society, The Little Book of Restorative Justice can be used for academic classes, workshops, conferences, and training sessions. Thus, the target audience of this book can be encouraged to promote responsibility, reparation, and healing for all.

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The Way Theory’s Principles Might Be Applied in Society

The criminal justice system ensures the rehabilitation of the offender, moral support for the victim, as well as the prevention of similar crimes in the future. Moreover, the traditional model is based on the idea to hold the offender responsible for the physical, emotional, and financial well-being of the other party involved. Nevertheless, this approach can be considered ineffective, as the main expectations are not met frequently. In turn, people involved in the crimes are likely to isolate themselves from society in order to avoid constant analysis of the situation that occurred. Consequently, unlike the traditional justice system, restorative justice aims to show respect to both parties, reduce potential risks, and empower communities.

Taking into account that the resolution of any conflict is based on the communication between both parties, this principle should also be applied to crimes. This goal can only be achieved with the help of restorative justice which is intended to make communities live in peace and security. At the same time, it is essential to note that rules and laws should not be perceived as the main elements of crime. Judges should primarily consider the harm that has been caused by the one party to the other one. In this way, both individuals can be treated with respect and integrity, thereby offering them to use their basic human rights.

From the perspective of the primary assumptions of restorative justice, it is essential to pay attention to repair, encounter, and transformation. In other words, each crime requires repairing in order to contribute to the development of considerable changes in individuals, relationships, and the entire society. These principles might be applied in society by focusing on the harms of crime instead of the laws and rules. It is important to treat victims and offenders equally, thereby decreasing the number of potential crimes in the future. For instance, the most widely known examples of restorative justice are victim assistance, community service, victim-offender mediation, peacemaking circles, and family group conferencing (Zehr and Gohar). In case these interventions are applied, the American legal system would be able to heal victims’ wounds and restore offenders to law-abiding lives in an appropriate manner.

Presently, one of the major problems of the American justice system is the lack of fairness when it comes to low-class people. Notably, it is a widely known fact that only people with high and stable financial status have the opportunity to get a trial. In turn, people living under the poverty line are more likely to be arrested and sentenced than other individuals. At the same time, inequality in gender is another considerable problem in the American justice system. For example, men are believed to be more violent and cruel than women due to their physiological features. As a result, they are more likely to be sentenced than females, which is clearly an unfair practice. Therefore, it is essential to apply principles of restorative justice in order to address the problems of inequality and high incarceration rates.


Zehr, Howard, and Ali Gohar. The Little Book of Restorative Justice. Skyhorse Publishing Company, 2015.

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