Sadly restorative justice could improve America by re-introducing a basic sense of community and connection between individuals. I say “sadly” because I believe it is the disconnection and isolation in these relationships that leads to a culture of criminality in the first place. Let’s take drug subculture as just one example. Why does it exist? Because too many folks can’t see any way out of their poverty and pain, and feel isolated, hopeless, and desperate…and drugs are a way out. Not an easy way out…just one of very few ways out they believe is available. How much violence intersects with illegal drug use? A lot. How much crime? A lot. How much destruction to families and friendships? A lot. So if we model healing of crime itself around restoring a sense of belonging, relationship, family, community, intimacy and so on…well, then we’re really just addressing the malady that led to the crime itself. We are removing a cause — one incentive — for criminality by relieving what reinforced a need for drugs. The accountability is secondary…it is the healthy, mutually supportive relationships are primary. How many other crimes (or patterns of criminality and criminal subculture) are a consequence of the breakdown of community, a loss of the sense of belonging, and a paucity of nourishing interpersonal relationships in modern society…? I’d bet that when you take severe psychopathology and cycles of abuse out of the mix, that this breakdown is responsible for nearly all of the remaining serious crime.
My 2 cents.
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