Restorative Justice

I think the prison system should be massively reformed. As it stands, our system is punitive, as it focuses on punishment, rather than fixing the problems. A lot of offenders can be helped, if given the right tools to succeed. There are a few possible models that can be used that are not based on punishment, but on helping. These sorts of systems lead to lower rates of recidivism.

Restorative justice was a model that was created around the concepts of offender victim reconciliation and rehabilitation (Palermo 2013). This is a concept that is used in more than 80 countries across the world (Palermo 2013). It doesn’t mean that people aren’t held accountable for their actions, as they definitely are; rather the focus is on healing and reconciling with victims, if possible (Palermo 2013). During this process, offenders will be rehabilitated and supported, to lower recidivism (Palermo 2013). Ideally, this model is designed to humanize criminal justice from the original punitive system (Palermo 2013).

This model of criminal justice is particularly useful for juveniles, as current models are not known to lower recidivism (Palermo 2013). Restorative justice is much more humane and has been shown to help children more than current systems (Palermo 2013). There is a lot of analysis still being done on how well this system works with children (Palermo 2013).

The criminal justice system is too focused on punishment and not enough on rehabilitation. It’s even worse for juveniles because they have so many opportunities to work on things and become better as adults. It is extremely hard to help criminals when punishment is the focus. Restorative justice is a model that holds offenders accountable, but also works on getting through the issues, restitution, assuaging feelings of guilt and resolving issues with victims. This system doesn’t focus much on punishment, as that’s not the goal.


Palermo, G. (2013). Restorative justice: A more understanding and humane approach to offenders. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology. 57(9) 1051-53. DOI:10.1177/0306624X13495009


  1. As someone that has some experience working in that field, there are a few things to discuss within this post. For one, prison is meant to be punitive at some level. These people have committed a crime (and often times many crimes) and it is not meant to be a summer camp (although many times they do have TV, video games, books, etc). In terms of “fixing the problem,” many prisons and jails have classes, therapists, educational opportunities, all sorts of things. There are a lot of opportunities to gain skills and process issues within the correctional system. Many people choose not to take advantage of it, but that is at their discretion. Juvenile systems have even more opportunities and rarely incarcerate on first offenses or even subsequent offenses and are generally court ordered to counseling, drug classes, etc. “Fixing the problem” is something that has to occur outside correctional systems and before crimes are committed. Fixing the problems involves healing the families and having loving, stable, consistent households.

  2. The last discussion post I wrote was about how I believe that juvenile detention facilities need to be reformed. I believe that they need to be juvenile rehabilitation facilities that promote and provide education for the youth as well as legal services, therapy, and life skills.
    I completely agree with you that “The criminal justice system is too focused on punishment and not enough on rehabilitation.” Punishment has been proven time and time again as an ineffective means of deterring recidivism. I think one of the major issues in both prisons and juvenile detention facilities is that the many of them are for-profit, private institutions.
    “The largest private prison corporations, Core Civic and GEO Group, collectively manage over half of the private prison contracts in the United States with combined revenues of $3.5 billion as of 2015.” (Gotsch, Basti & Ghandnoosh, 2018) “In March 2010, the ACLU filed suit in federal court against CCA in Idaho, alleging that guards were not protecting inmates from other violent inmates.[87] In February 2014, the federal judge hearing the case awarded $349,000 in attorney fees to the ACLU for its costs in bringing the action. A settlement was reached to correct conditions at the prisons run by CCA. In November 2012, eight inmates filed a federal lawsuit in Idaho alleging that CCA prison officials partially ceded control of the Idaho Correctional Center to gang leaders.” (Dante, 2018) The corruption within private, for-profit prisons is rampant. Even after facing fines for not protecting inmates the corruption and violence continues.
    These facilities need to be held accountable for their negligence. They are profiting billions of dollars and are treating inmates like inhumanly. Saying that prisons need reform is an understatement!


    Dante. (2018, September 26). Shares in Corecivic Inc (CXW) Acquired by Commonwealth
    of Pennsylvania. Retrieved April 25, 2020, from

    Gotsch, K., Basti, V., & Ghandnoosh, N. (2018, August 2). Capitalizing on Mass
    Incarceration: U.S. Growth in Private Prisons. Retrieved April 25, 2020, from

  3. Hi. I was glad to see your blog as reforming the criminal justice system has been a passionate goal of mine for many years. The system has so many broken elements to it on every level. It definitely is too harsh and not designed to rehabilitate.

    I think restorative justice can be a factor that works, but before that can or should take place I believe the system as a whole needs to be revamped as their are too many flaws. I feel it starts with juveniles, and feel that the school to prison pipeline is real. Psychologically brains are not developed fully, and part of the problem with our system is the gross variances across the country in how they handle juvenile cases, especially when their are harsh examples of juveniles being tried as adults, or arguing for a death penalty for juveniles under the age of 18. (Ashford University)

    Thanks for sharing your input into the betterment of a fair criminal justice system.


    Ashford University. “Crime and the Adolescent Brain: The Effects of Youths Tried as Adults.” April 17, 2019. Accessed April 18, 2020.

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