Can Restorative Justice have a Positive Impact in Nevada?
What do we want from our justice system? Punishment? Retaliation? Justice? One idea that has been making its way into the discussion of late is the concept of restorative justice. What is it, how does it work, where can it be useful, and why should we bother with it?
What is Restorative Justice?
In considering how to handle criminal behavior, restorative justice looks at the damage crime causes to individuals, communities, and relationships. The theory is, any response to the crime must address all of those. So, when affected parties are willing, restorative justice allows for the active participation of those who committed crimes and those who suffered as a result of those crimes. The idea is that the focus of real justice should be on addressing harms, and real healing and transformation can only come for both parties when they decide together on how to make this happen. Offenders must necessarily take responsibility for their actions, while victims find a path forward despite their pain.
Restorative Justice Starts in Schools
Restorative justice as a model of thinking can occur anywhere. Imagine if all schools addressed conflicts using these principles. Rather than the zero tolerance policies that resulted in children of all ages being suspended and expelled, student discipline could be geared toward finding solutions that work throughout the school community. Local schools are currently using community circles and peer mediation to help offenders identify the impacts their behaviors have on the community. Certainly, restorative justice models, such as those promoted through organizations like My Brother’s Keeper, have found success throughout the country in various criminal justice systems as well. In fact, Nevada has seen interesting results worth applauding.
Las Vegas’ Community Impact Court
Here in Las Vegas, the Community Impact Court has been working with the homeless population to mitigate lengthy jail sentences. The aim is to cut down on recidivism by giving nonviolent homeless individuals alternatives to living on the street. Previously, when homeless individuals cited for vagrancy or illegal vending failed to show up for their court date, they were eventually caught and jailed until they saw a judge. It was a pointless scenario that neither sought to examine the issues associated with the criminal activity, nor put an end to it. The new system schedules court dates more quickly and intervenes with a variety of agencies to provide services addressing the core issues behind the criminal activity.
Lobo Law Looking for Justice
If you are concerned about justice, you’ve come to the right place. Our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers are dedicated to seeking the best outcomes for clients accused of crimes. Contact us at Lobo Law today to discuss your situation.