Law Review International Journal of Law and Jurisprudence Open Source Online Publication Edited by the Union of Jurists of Romania and Universul Juridic Publishing House e-ISSN 2246-9435
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Restorative justice: a critical analysis

Cristin N. Popa


Originating from the practices of aboriginal societies and various religious traditions, restorative justice has become lately a very popular but controversial topic. The longstanding debate is centered
mainly on a few key elements: whether this concept should be clearly defined or viewed as an open notion, whether it should be defined as a process or as a result, whether it should contain some form of punishment, whether it should be contrasted with the retributive justice approach, and whether it should be considered as an alternative to the traditional criminal justice system or as an integrated part of it.

This paper will show how, despite the differences among restorative justice definitions, they all focus on some common elements: promoting practices inspired by indigenous and religious customs, viewing crime as a harm caused by an individual against another individual, and giving those affected by the crime a chance to participate in the process of fixing wrongdoings.
By comparing restorative justice with reparative justice and community justice, this paper will emphasize the uniqueness of this specific approach. Further, a critical analysis of some theories that
explain the essence of restorative justice will be developed and a closer look at the victim-offender mediation program will be taken. Then, an analytical overview of strengths and weaknesses of restorative justice will be provided. Finally, this paper will include a few recommendations.