Restaurant justice is a criminal response within the legal theory aimed at reparing damage sustained by victims and restoring harm. The form of justice provides for the wrongful acts of people. Crime affects culture and relationships between people. Restauratory justice can be divided into conviction and healing circles. The circles of restaurant justice vary in how they act and in the performance. Paragraphs below address the key distinctions between sentencing circles and healing circles.
A healing ceremony is an action aimed at ending a dispute. A ceremony. Members of a healing circle include offender and victim. The circle allows the members to open up and express their feelings freely. The healing involves a discussion and an assessment of the impact of an offense to the relationship between the offender, victim, and the society. An intensive process is engaged, where victims are made to accept their offenses and harms caused. Statistics show that the individuals, who undergo healing circle processes, experience fewer traumas and fears afterward (RJ, 2017). In comparison, a circle sentencing is symbolic and involves members such as community residents, lawyers, police officers, offenders, judges, and victims. The involved parties deliberate on different issues to arrive at a consensus. The agreement is all-inclusive, and it addresses a sentencing plan, which concerns the interested parties. The process is conducted to develop the understanding of a sentencing plan. The process is community-directed and partners with the criminal justice system with a goal of addressing all the concerns of the parties involved. The parties include offenders, victims, supporters, prosecutor, court personnel, judge, defense counsel, community members, and police (RJ, 2017).
The steps and activities, assigned to the offenders in healing circles, include; community work, specialized counseling, treatment programs, traditional remedies depending on the values, customs, and beliefs of a community, direct restitution, and other creative solutions that can be agreed. Healing circle assigns individual’s responsibility by talking through the problem. Also, an emphasis on learning and healing through a collective group process is involved. The end of the process is marked by the personal healing of the offender and the victim. The sentencing circles, on the other hand, require a multi-step procedure such as; the application of the offender to participate in the process, the healing circles for the victim and offenders, a sentencing circle to plan and develop an agreement about the sentencing plan, and follow up circles, which monitor the progress of offenders. A sentencing plan involves various commitments by the participants in the process. The setting can be done both in an urban environment and in the rural settings. The circle process and specifics in different communities vary because they are designed to fit various cultures, societies, and their needs (Young, 2002).
The principles of the sentencing circles include; healing, opportunity to effect change, empowerment of the members, assessment, and address of the possible causes of crime in a particular community, building a capacity for resolving conflict, and promoting community values. Implementation of the sentencing circles depends on the success and healthy partnership between the partners involved. Appropriate training and skills are required and can be customized to fit different regions and locations to align them with the societal values, culture, and local resources. The training and skills include the circle process, consensus building, and peacemaking. The preparation of the process of the sentence circles allows for the development of healthy relationships between the participating members. The community justice committee regulates the process and is involved in the decision and acceptance of cases. In comparison, the principles of a peace circle include the communicating, listening, hearing, and healing. The principles provide a foundation to build the society and decision-makers. Peace circle addresses conflicts holistically to solve problems accurately and focuses on repairing the harms done. The process combines victim’s reconciliation, offender’s responsibility, and community’s healing. The beliefs of the peace circles include; interdependence of human beings, rehabilitation, and potential, responsibility to assist one another (Coates, Umbreit, and Vos, 2003).
Healing circles are advantageous because they heal, transform, and grow relationships. They also resolve conflicts in a rehabilitative way, build consensus, inspire taking responsibility, promote personal growth, grow leaders naturally, enhance problem-solving skills, reinforce the holistic view of issues, encourage a mutual prospect, and go beyond the ordinary. Parties involved can listen to both sides of the story holistically. Logic and other aspects of life are used to solve different problems. Pathos, empathy, understanding, connection, and human emotions are involved in the resolution process. In contrast, sentencing circles are not appropriate for all offenders due to various determining factors which include; the connection or relationship between the criminal and the community, the input of the individuals who have committed a crime, the offender’s willingness, commitment and dedication to the circle process. Despite the various factors that might affect the operations, a representative of the justice system must be involved in the participation to ensure fair treatment of the offenders and the victims (RJ). Statistics data in research, conducted in Canada, indicated that about 80 percent of individuals, who went through the sentencing circles, were less likely to re-offend, compared to others who did not go through the circles (Booth, 2014).
The two circles empowered participants and enhanced their conflict resolution skills. However, the healing process is more empowering and satisfying than other conventional justice procedures. Participants were found to engage in constructive relationships characterized by understanding, respect, and endurance. The individuals in this partnership talk freely in an attempt to understand the event and come up with appropriate steps necessary to heal the affected parties. The sentencing circles also seek to prevent future incidences that may lead to similar crimes. However, the effectiveness of the sentencing circles cannot be confirmed with certainty (RJ, 2017).
Booth, T. (2014). The restorative capacities of victim impact statements: analysis of the victim—judge communication dyad in the sentencing of homicide offenders. Restorative Justice,2(3), 302-326.
Coates, R., Umbreit, M., & Vos, B. (2003). Restorative justice circles: An exploratory study. Contemporary Justice Review,6(3), 265-278.
Restorative Justice. (2017). Retrieved December 16, 2017, from https://www.justiceeducation.ca/about-us/research/aboriginal-sentencing/restorative-justice
Restorative Justice (2017). Retrieved December 16, 2017, from http://restorativejustice.org/restorative-justice/about-restorativejustice/tutorial-intro-to-restorative-justice/lesson-3-programs/circles/#sthash.nLgUcOv1.dpbs
Restorative Justice (2017). Retrieved December 16, 2017, from http://restorativejustice.org/restorative-justice/tutorial-intro-to-restorative-justice/#sthash.UFi4tzoB.dpbs
Young, R. (2002). Testing the Limits of Restorative Justice: The Case of Corporate Victims. In C. Hoyle & R. Young (Authors), New Visions of Crime Victims (pp. 133-172). Oxford: Hart.