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Restorative Justice.

No one can deny that there is an increasing outcry for a tougher criminal justice system from the public. Hence sound bites and spin like “Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime.” from our government. And yet, in the world of academic criminology it’s business as usual.

The latest buzz words are “restorative justice.”

(link) A new 'soft justice' row erupted last night as it emerged teenage burglars are being told to paint posters instead of going to jail.

The punishment, handed out by Youth Offending Teams (YOTs), is to draw pictures of the items they would like to steal. The posters are then put on public display so terrified householders know which items to hide from view in case burglars strike.

Alternative 'restorative justice' projects for teenage tearaways include spending two weeks painting a mural of a 'country scene' on the side of a warehouse.

Details of the activities, which now pass for punishment, emerged in a report by Andrew Bridges, Chief Inspector of Probation. The study also revealed a shocking three out of ten teenage criminals sent to YOTs are re-offending while supposedly under supervision.

But Norman Brennan, director of the Victims of Crime Trust, said: 'Who comes up with these barmy, crazy ideas? We need to tell these individuals their behaviour is not acceptable, and highlight the devastation that crimes such as burglary cause to their victims. All these pink and fluffy gimmicks do nothing to reassure a terrified public.'

The YOT decides how they should 'right the wrong' they caused their victim. If they obey the terms and conditions, they will not even have a criminal record for their offence as it is considered 'spent'.

Others sent on the programmes have been given Final Warnings, the juvenile equivalent of a caution, instead of being dragged through the courts.

Of all offenders supervised by YOTs, three out of ten are believed to have engaged in 'criminal activity' during the course of the order. The overall quality of supervision plans was 'generally very low', Mr Bridges said.


I look forward to seeing the evidence that restorative justice programmes deliver what is claimed for them, although I doubt that any evidence will ever be collected and published to this end. I suspect that the primary objectives of such schemes are to provide employment for social workers, and to reduce costs overall (non-custodial sentences are significantly cheaper than prison sentences).

Unless the public continues to press for justice this situation is unlikely to change.

Comments

The Left claims that punishment in education or prison for criminals doesn't work.

However, you cannot convince them by data because they know very well that it works since the Left always demands punishment and prison terms for white collar crime, for right-wing Nazis, for sexual abuse, for sexually offensive behavior, for discrimination asf.

So why do they claim that prison doesn't work?

The reason is that Antionio Cramsci, an Italian Marxist, said (since communist revolutions did not spread in Europe after Lenin's revolution in Russia) the only method to bring the hated capitalistic system down is to destroy the foundation of Western civilization by forming alliances with groups repressed by capitalism, among others criminals. For more details, see my comment on Archbishop Cranmer's blog or read Antonio Cramsci's Prison Notebooks.

Colin,
I accept your explanation as true, and in some ways it's a relief to find a logical reason for the attitude of the hard left. I certainly don't agree with this attitude, but at least I can see how their position was reached.

In addition, no doubt thanks in large part to the above group, we now see a much wider, almost religious, devotion amongst our liberal middle classes to the belief that prison doesn’t work. I find these individuals much harder to understand. Their position hasn’t been arrived at by a thought process as such, it’s just been drummed into them by members of the chattering liberal classes in the media and in the education profession. As a result we have a sizeable group who are as likely to question the effectiveness of community punishment as they are to question the sun rising every morning. And since one is dealing with a fundamental belief it is highly resistant to change by debate and argument.

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