This excellent article from the New York Times tells the story of a young man who murders his girlfriend, and the road he, his family and his girlfriend’s family travel on their way toward healing, forgiveness and restitution. This bold look at what is known as ‘restorative justice’ challenges the way we usually think about criminal justice, crime and punishment, and offers hope in the possibility that both criminals and victims of crime can work toward true healing after terrible tragedies.
It is a very powerful story and has had me thinking for days. It doesn’t offer any easy answers or solutions, because particularly in cases of violent crime, no easy solutions or quick fixes exist. But it has made me question the limitations and failures of the current norms of criminal justice, and wonder how something like restorative justice could be used on a wider scale, and in what situations it would even be appropriate.
Is it really something practical that could be used beyond a few exceptional situations? What in our society would hinder further use of restorative justice and how could these hindrances be overcome? Is this a practice that can only be successful in smaller scale communities on a case by case basis or could it ever become the institutional norm?
Read the article here: Can Forgiveness Play a Role in Criminal Justice?