Philosophies of Punishment

There are a number of opinions held by people on the action that should be taken on criminal offenders. Several philosophies have been implemented in dealing with criminal offenders. These philosophies of punishment include: incapacitation, prevention/deterrence, retribution, rehabilitation and restoration. The philosophy of punishment that I advocate in out of these is restoration (Seiter, 2011). Some philosophies of punishment are applicable or not applicable in some areas based on their advantages and disadvantages. However, restoration or restorative justice serves a bigger and better role in dealing with criminal offenders. Restoration is a philosophy in criminal justice that lays emphasis on the crime committed. This is considered as an act of a certain individual or society rather than the nation or State. Thus, this term paper highlights the efficacy of restorative justice over other philosophies of punishment in the criminal justice system.

Dialogue that exists between the victim and the offender is very important to the process of restorative justice. The individual who has committed the offense takes responsibility of their doings. The person who has suffered from the actions of the offender may have the main role in the process in most cases. The offended receives apology together with reparation either indirectly or directly from the offender. This acts as a good platform for the criminal as there is an opportunity to express feelings towards the case. Again, he or she can defend the actions if needed or show their remorse. The restorative justice process has been yielding exceeding results. All the same, there have been some few conflicting perceptions of its meaning and what it entails. Indeed, what offense makes important is a restoration method or reparation between the victim, the offender and other interested fellows. The process is more especially meant to address the society at large (Morris and Maxwell, 2001).

The process of restorative justice is not merely achieved through a criminal trial process and punishment procedure. It is achieved through reconciliation and mediation programs that bring together all interested parties. This includes the offender and the victim to discuss the crime and the best approach of dealing with it. Those who advocate for restorative justice often differentiate it from retribution. The fact is that restoration should be preferred to retribution or even mere punishment. This would make an effort to repair the wrongs and loses realized by the victim or the society at large. The concept is hinged on finding an amicable solution when those in the justice system ask for restoration. This is because the answer makes reference to the material harm resulting from the crime. Moreover, it also refers to the wrong that was committed. This is indeed a very efficacious approach because the latter was what actually soiled the relationship. It seeks to address the relationship between the victim and the offender or the community at large (McCold, 2003).

This is what needs to be restored between the offender, the victim and any other interested part from the society. This is considered very important if a genuine and somber reconciliation process is to be realized. Therefore, a restorative procedure that is to be suitable to crime should be an effective process. It should seek enough recognition through the offender and by the rest, of the crime committed. This recognition should for the offender, if indisputable, be repentant. Again, it should seek a suitable apologetic restoration for the crime committed by the offender. Restoration is thus considered an apposite approach in dealing with crime. It permits individuals to correct the wrongs and thereby giving them a chance of making issues right in their lives. This is unlike in an incapacitation process or in some other philosophy of punishment. The culprit is given the punishment he or she deserves. Creating a good rapport amongst members of the society as seen with a restoration process is deemed useful (Zaibert, 2006).

A restorative process is a very balanced procedure and is thought to produce the right judgment. This is based on the fact that it gives the victim a center role in the matter in the process of correction. The idea of punishment is made so skimping through the manner in which it enhances both symbolic and instrumental results. Balancing the harm with another of its kind as seen in retribution may be limited. This is more so in helping every party involved in the process and more so the offender (Vanfraechem et al., 2010). Apparently, the victim's interests alone take center stage while the offender's case is already determined by fair means or foul. Crime is regarded as an unjust advantage to the offender at the expense of the rest whose freedom is infringed. Thus punishment is considered a response to this unjust infringement by forcing a counterbalancing inconvenience to the offender. A restorative process instead claims fairness, equality and brings reparation in between the parties involved in the case. It avoids the law of an eye for an eye. It gains an upper hand over a rehabilitation process.

Depriving criminals human resources like life, money among others makes no real sense in promoting the welfare of the society. When the offender serves his sentence in prison and fails to know how to correct his mistakes, the process becomes retrogressive. Some punishments are too general and even do not match the crime the offender committed. Universal humiliation and pain privations imposed upon criminals not considering the nature of crimes in most cases are fruitless (Hanes and Hanes, 2005). A restorative process offers authentic freedom to everyone involved. The offender stands a chance to review the choices and the actions made as seen in the societal context. Generally, restorative justice is more convincing than the rest. This is because it is able to point out at the exact wring committed by the offender. Ultimately, the action taken upon the hearing of the case and the judgment thereafter would be with a clear knowledge. This is more so on why it has happened that way.