A FINAL ANALYSIS

We have looked at individual cases where restorative justice programs have been successful, and we have looked at communities who have reaped the benefits. As this enlightened methodology spreads across the states, we can begin to look forward to a new social awareness and, more important, a new judicial standard.

America lives with a criminal justice system in a chronic state of crisis. We are fearful and judgmental and angry. Many who work within the system are desensitized, forgetting that inmates are humans who need certain rights — rights to see their children, to have parole hearings, to educate themselves. But the criminal justice policy as a whole is mired in inertia, even when we have systematic information that suggests improvements can be made. The economic and social costs of current policy are not sustainable over long periods. Victims are often re-victimized by this “non-process.” Looking toward the future, conservatives as well as liberals can only hope that a viable alternative is found. And it seems that restorative justice is viable, indeed.

There may not be a single blueprint to chart the journey toward building community support; nevertheless, these efforts need to be guided by a clear set of principles, and a specific strategy has to be implemented so that standards are maintained … only then, can we find a long-lasting solution to our criminal justice havoc.

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