Restorative justice


The justice is a group of values important on which should be based both society and the state, values that include respect , the equality , fairness and freedom . From a more formal point of view, we can say that justice is a set of previously codified norms that the State, using various agencies, enforces. There are several types of justice, one of them is restorative justice which focuses on community work to fight crime .

What is restorative justice?

The restorative justice is an alternative model of justice that is based on several procedures in order to be able to cope with the crime , the crime and whose main objective is to repair the damage that has been caused to the victim person.

  • Definition
  • Characteristics of restorative justice
  • When to apply
  • goals
  • Restorative justice by country
  • Advantages of restorative justice
  • Disadvantages
  • How it differs from criminal mediation
  • How it differs from punitive justice
  • Importance
  • Examples


The restorative justice is a system through which seeks to find solutions to repair the damage that has been caused to the victim which can usually be performed by the criminal mediation . It is a process through which a third person intervenes who has no relationship with the victim or with the person who has committed the crime .


It is a response to criminal acts that focuses mainly on solving the problems that arise from a crime, in such a way that the victims, the people who commit the crime and the community can unite with the objective of achieving solve a series of conflicts that arise after an offense such as the suffering on the part of the victim, the responsibility of the offender who has committed the crime and the damages that are also caused in the community .

Characteristics of restorative justice

Among the most important characteristics of restorative justice are the following:

  • Consider the crime to be more than just a violation of the law.
  • He sees crime as a type of rape that injures the victim , the community, and even the offender .
  • It includes a restoration process for people who have been victims of a crime but also for criminals.
  • It is mainly based on the principle that criminal behavior, in addition to breaking the law, hurts the victims and the community .
  • It focuses on repairing the damages committed .
  • It is a more humane type of justice that also incorporates dialogue.
  • Its main values ​​are the personal and direct encounter that must take place between the victim and the perpetrator, reparation as a response to the crime committed, the reintegration of the victim and the person who commits the crime and finally the participation that the opportunity for participants to be directly involved in the stages.

When to apply

This type of justice is generally applied when minor crimes need to be solved , however, it has also been used after the end of some wars and violent confrontations. It is important to remember that this type of justice includes direct mediation in order to resolve conflicts.


The main goals of restorative justice are listed below:

  • Call for full participation and consensus in order to produce healing in all those affected who are part of the crime.
  • Heal everything that has been hurt or broken.
  • Seek responsibility directly and completely.
  • Manage to gather all the pieces that have been divided into the perpetrators by the crime.
  • Give a greater strengthening to the community to avoid future crimes.
  • Increase the cooperation of the community and the state .
  • Try to reintegrate the victim and the person who commits the crime in the Company.

Restorative justice by country

Some countries that apply restorative justice are as follows.

  • Spain : In Spain, the penal system is based mainly on punitive justice and criminal laws, however, restorative justice has been used on several occasions. Perhaps the most shocking are those that occurred years ago among the victims of the ETA and the former members of this terrorist gang. When applied, it is done with the objective of bringing peace to the victim through a type of emotional reparation.
  • Argentina : in this country, restorative justice is used mainly when crime cases include young people because they consider that many of these cases cannot be solved solely using the typical means of judicial administration.
  • Canada : this country was the first place in which instead of using the modern penal system, the use of restorative justice was implemented to solve some crimes. It was introduced during the 70s and is mainly related to Juvenile Criminal Justice.

Advantages of restorative justice

Among its main advantages we find the following:

  • It gives the victim the opportunity to feel safe and to heal their wounds .
  • It allows offenders to study the causes and effects of their behavior so that they can then take responsibility .
  • It enables the community to understand the underlying causes of crime with the aim of improving well-being and preventing actions from being repeated.


Some of its disadvantages are:

  • There may be some contradictions with the principles that have been established in the criminal jurisdiction .
  • It may be that the legal rules are not applied to resolve serious conflicts.
  • There may be problems related to the true impartiality of the mediator .
  • The principle of presumption of innocence may be violated .

How it differs from criminal mediation

The criminal mediation is a process through which an assumed moral balance between the parties while restorative justice takes better account of the parties as agents moral to have a certain degree of shared moral responsibility. Restorative justice also gives a space for the crime to be recognized , in other words so that the offender can assume responsibility for the fact that he has committed, for which his mediators cannot be neutral , instead in criminal mediation , mediator has an impartial and neutral role.

Another difference is that in matters related to mediation , many individual encounters are not needed but in restorative justice, this preparation turns out to be paramount. The approaches of both are different since mediation seeks to negotiate in order to reach reasonable agreements, while restorative justice includes needs on an emotional and sentimental level .

How it differs from punitive justice

The main difference between them is that retributive or punitive justice is based on compliance with all the laws that have been previously established by the State, on the other hand, restorative justice is more seen as a model or as a way of seeing justice . In the punitive , the guilt is established and a punishment is sought , in the restorative , it is tried that the person who has committed a crime can assume conscience and responsibilityTherefore, the latter is based more on responsibility and not on blame.


Its main importance lies in the fact that restorative justice is a type of tool that can be used in order to create a series of conditions that positively favor the resolution of conflicts , reparation of the damages committed and the reintegration of the society . It is a type of justice that can help solve neighborhood problems in a constructive way as it allows them to accept blame, assume it responsibly and also seek alternatives to repair the damage caused.


As examples we can mention Costa Rica , one of the Latin American countries that has implemented a series of alternative methods to solve conflicts, for this, they have created a restorative justice program that focuses on criminal matters , on juvenile justice of the type restorative and in a drug treatment program always under the supervision of the judiciary .

Another example is Colombia , as this country has decided to use restorative justice in order to heal the wounds that were left scarred after many years of armed conflict . They have a program of restorative juvenile justice in which they can enter under 18 years old who commit a crime.

Leave a Comment