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The issue of plea bargaining has been a thorn in the flesh for the justice system. This is because people that have doe major crimes often get away with less charges by sampling selling out other persons in the group.
Plea bargaining had been banned in several states, this is because these states believed that the issue of plea bargaining led to miscarriage of justice. This is because persons knew that if they were caught then all they would have to do is to ‘rat’ someone out and their sentences would be dramatically reduced. States such as Alaska were in the forefront of banning the use of plea bargaining.
However, it has not been successful for the states to remove the plea bargaining, this is because, it is often argued that it helps in the finding of the wrong people and people that are higher in the chain of crime. Therefore, the prosecution takes its time in order to ensure that it creates greater good as a result of more people being caught as a result of the being ‘rat’ out.
The insanity plea has also caught the eyes of many.
This is because there are those that depend on the clause when they commit a crime. They argue that at the time of the crime they had no idea of what they were doing. Therefore, this is an important issue as most people argue that the insanity plea should be abolished. However, those that support the insanity plea argues that mental incapacitation is a serious problem and the abolishing of the insanity plea would mean that there will be an injustice.
1. Should Plea bargaining be banned or should it be upheld?
2. Is the insanity plea being used in the wrong manner?
3. Should the Insanity plea be banned?
Justice is an important aspect in the society. It is a concept where people receive what they deserve. Videlicet, it is the quality of maintaining high levels of righteousness, equality and as well fairness in the society (In Healy 2012). There are different types and approaches used while referring to justice. The common approaches include restorative and traditional (retributive) justice. Restorative justice focuses on enhancing and promoting relationships between offenders with their victims. Restorative justice is collaborative in nature. Thus, both victims and offenders play significant roles while rebuilding their relationships. Consequently, while victims reconcile with the offenders, the later take charge of their damaging actions with the aim of undoing the damage done on the victims (Antkowiak, 2012).
On the other hand, a traditional approach to justice, as used in some societies, aims at finding the fault and damage done on victims while carrying out trials on the offenders with an aim punishing the guilty. Unlike restorative justice, traditional justice lays an emphasis that penalties and punishments for offenses are acceptable in the society provided the offender is guilty. Additionally, it assumes that penalties posed to the offenders should be proportional to their offences.
Different nations are increasing using restorative justice approach while responding to judicial situations. I believe that restorative strategy has an upper while compared to conventional justice as used in Canada (Grossman, 2012). In the paper, I will focus on the reasons why restorative justice is the best approach towards justice in comparison with conventional justice (In Healy 2012).
Restorative justice vs. Canada’s conventional justice
a. It promotes justice to all parties involved
Restorative justice takes different forms. The most common form of restorative justice is the face-to-face mediation involving a mediator, victim and as well the offender. While involving these parties, the focus is to emphasize and determine the cause of the offense (Grossman, 2012). Additionally, the approach focuses on promoting justice by developing a comprehensive approach towards the harms contributed by the offenses in question. In contrast, conventional justice grants key roles to the government and the lawbreakers only. Similarly, the later does not take into account the community and the victims. Therefore, there is no promotion of justice to all parties while using the conventional justice approach (Cunneen, 2010).
b. Promotes reconciliation
While focused on rebuilding relationships between victims and offenders, restorative justice measures success contrarily with conventional justice that measures the penalty imposed on the offender (Antkowiak, 2012). Restorative justice focuses on evaluating the damage or harm prevented between offenders and their victims. The level of justice in a society measurement is through maintenance of high profiles of reconciliation and truth between parties involved in the crime. Thus, by focusing on the harm prevented and mended, restorative justice enhances a high profile of justice and reconciliation between offenders and their counterpart victims (In Healy 2012).
c. Enhances a crime-free community
Restorative justice promotes community development. Community development as an initiative of reacting to crime and decreasing its prevalence is significantly an important aspect while enhancing a cooperation in the nation. It is unlike conventional justice as applied by Canada where the solitary government has the role of dealing with crimes (In Healy 2012). Consequently, while using restorative justice, the community gains the ability of dealing with crime at the individual level without engaging the government. It is a crucial countenance of community development and cooperation promotion as it enhances a crime-free community. In addition, through the approach, people gain a sense of responsibility that prevents them from engagement in criminal activities (Antkowiak, 2012).
d. Promotes justice to wrongdoers
While using conventional justice approach, as in the case of Canada’s government, offenders in most cases do not have equal chances of expressing themselves. However, while using a restorative justice approach, as seen earlier, there is involvement of mediators (additional parties) who enact conducive environments for both offender and victim expression.
Similarly, it grants the parties a decision-making supremacy thus active contribution in the relation restoration process (Grossman, 2012). The approach places the offender at an edge of the justice kindness where justice can land on either way. In other words, after the process, the offender can be either guilty or not guilty. Conversely, it is an important aspect promoting equality and justice to both offenders and victims (Cunneen, 2010).
e. Wide interpretation and approach to community crimes
Unlike the conventional approaches to justice, restorative justice has a wide interpretation of criminal activities. Instead of having generalized approach to crime as law-breaking, as used in the conventional justice as applied in Canada, restorative justice defines incident actions of offenders based on the harm caused to themselves, the society and as well the victims (In Healy 2012). Apparently, with the broadened definition of criminal activities, there is enhancement of consideration of the parties involved and thus promoting equality in justice. Contrarily, conventional justice bases its definition on the stipulated law on criminal activities in the society. Thus, it does not promote integration and consideration while defining justice practices on criminal activities (Grossman, 2012).
f. Has an experienced justice for victims and the society
As defined earlier, it is a justice approach focused on rebuilding destroyed relationships due to criminal activities. Unlike in conventional justice that views offenders with much negative attitude leading to high penalty imposition, restorative justice has a positive approach towards its offenders (Antkowiak, 2012). It is an important aspect in the later in creating a sense of meaningfulness while dealing with criminal activities in a society.
Similarly, parties involved (offenders and victims), experience high levels of indulgence thus enhancing equality on the outcomes. When landing on a final judgment related to the criminal activity, offenders get the chance of interacting with the society. Lastly, they gain the chance of bargaining the outcome with the victims with a prospect of enhancing satisfaction on the crime consequences. It is in contrast with conventional justice where the outcome leaves offenders without a sense of belonging to the society due to the imposed penalties and punishments (Cunneen, 2010).
g. It enacts responsibility to offenders
In a society, there are different aspects and methods used aiming at attainment of justice. The most common method is penalty as used in the conventional justice. However, with the rise of restorative attitude towards criminal activities, there is an increase in integrative mechanisms aimed at curbing the prevalence of crime in the society (In Healy 2012).
Unlike in cases where government imposes stiff punishments, which may include fines and jail terms on offenders, restorative justice attributes to creation of fruitful relationships in the society. The face-to-face approaches focused on holding offenders accountable for their actions, does have not only personal but also direct benefits to the offenders. They help them in understanding the extent of damage caused by their actions granting those opportunities of rebuilding themselves and as well repairing their behaviors (Antkowiak, 2012).
h. Gives opportunities for direct answers regarding criminal activities involved
While using a restorative approach, offense victims have opportunities of getting answers on questions regarding the criminal activities against them (Cunneen, 2010). As a result, they have the opportunity of understanding why these crimes took place against them. On the other hand, while restorative justice addresses a wide variety of crimes, the society has the opportunity of addressing some social crime issues such as sexual assault and as well hate crimes. Consequently, victims faced by these offences get opportunities of moving on with their lives based on the direct answers offered by the offenders. As an integrative approach of justice enhancement, restorative justice promotes reduced hatred between society members (Grossman, 2012).
Restorative aspect of justice as seen in the discussion has a passionate commitment in introducing and promoting restoration of peace and mutual understanding in the society. It is unlike conventional aspect of justice that focuses on penalty consequences of justice (Antkowiak, 2012). Restorative justice application is in a different context some of which include; crime agencies social issues facing society members and as well inter-community conflicts.
Its independent evaluations, enhanced by engagement of a neutral party (mediator), consistently contributes to the high levels of indulgence and satisfaction of the parties involved. Similarly, integration of the restoration process, significantly contributes to the reduction of the frequency of prevalence of crime offences and reoccurrence of the already solved conflicts (Grossman, 2012).
In conclusion, aside from the unique restoration process engaged by the justice approach, restorative justice creates high levels of innovation and inspiration to the society. Consequently, individuals gain the knowledge of tackling problems at their individual levels. Similarly, parties involved gain opportunities of changing their mindsets based upon the stipulated methods of dealing with the criminal activities.
Grossman, M. G., & Roberts, J. V. (2012). Criminal justice in Canada: A reader. Toronto: Nelson Education.
Antkowiak, T. M. (January 01, 2011). An Emerging Mandate For International Courts: Victim-Centered Remedies and Restorative Justice. Stanford Journal of International Law, 47, 2, 279-332.
In Healy, L. M., & In Link, R. J. (2012). Handbook of international social work: Human rights, development, and the global profession.
Cunneen, C., & Hoyle, C. (2010). Debating restorative justice. Oxford: Hart.
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