Retribution vs. Restoration

Restorative Justice is an option for juvenile offenders

Retribution vs. Restoration

Did you know the cost of one teen spending one year in a detention center is the equivalent of two to three years’ tuition at an Ivy League school?

Did you realize that you and other taxpayers are footing the bill for juvenile offenders’ incarceration?

Aside from the direct costs of incarcerating juveniles – such as the funds required for operating detention facilities – taxpayers pay in the long term as well in the form of lost future earnings, lost tax revenue and other ripple effects that the Justice Policy Institute estimates costs state and local governments nationwide somewhere between $8 billion and $21 billion annually. Per U.S. News & World Report

When a juvenile is sentenced to jail or a detention center, this is an example of “retributive or punitive” justice. Punitive justice is the traditional system of dealing with those who are charged with a crime, based on the punishment of offenders, rather than on rehabilitation.

There is an alternative when a youth commits a crime: Restorative Justice

Because relationships are at the heart of Restorative Justice, the process enables everyone affected by the crime to play a part in repairing the harm and finding a positive way forward.

Studies show that Restorative Justice reduces crime victims’ post- traumatic stress symptoms and the victims’ desire for revenge against the offender.

Victims report satisfaction that justice has been done when they have a voice in the process.

Offenders have insights as to how their actions affected others; not just the direct victims, but victims’ spouses, children, parents and the community.

When members of the community participate in the Restorative Justice
process, they play a part in helping to restore trust, demonstrating empathy for others and assist in rebuilding public safety.

Restorative Justice has also shown to reduce repeat offending for some offenders and helps reduce the costs of criminal justice.

The Restorative Justice process, offered by Concord Mediation Center:

  • provides victims with an opportunity to tell their story, address the harm caused and find answers to questions that are important to them;
  • provides offenders with an opportunity to take responsibility for their actions and to be held accountable by those they harmed; and,
  • empowers communities to gain a better understanding of the root causes of crime and allow the community to express and reduce its fears.

Healing begins with Restorative Justice.

The balance of trust, rebuilding relationships and community safety begins with restoration. When the victim, the offender and members of the community come together in the Restorative Justice process, the healing process begins, as each party sees the other as a human being.

For more information, contact Concord Mediation Center at 402-345-1131 or email us at