Looking at Community-Based ADRS in India Through a Restorative Justice Perspective

Looking at Community-Based ADRS in India Through a Restorative Justice Perspective

Swikar Lama
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-4112-1.ch006
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Restorative justice is a type of alternative dispute resolution, but not all ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) procedures constitute restorative justice. This chapter examines community-based alternative dispute resolution systems, attempting to distinguish the similarities and differences between ADRS (Alternative Dispute Resolution Systems) and restorative justice procedures. It examines whether these community-based ADRs adhere to restorative justice principles such as victim empowerment, deliberate effort by those involved in decision-making to reduce stigmatization and punishment of the offender, emphasis on strengthening or repairing interpersonal relationships, and so on. It also looks into whether formal restorative justice processes could imbibe some of the good features of these community-based ADRs.
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Restorative Justice

Instead of focusing on the state, Restorative Justice views crime as an act against the individual or community. Restorative justice systems allow the offender to accept responsibility and accountability for their acts, and the victim has the chance to play an important role in the process. In the majority of cases, the wrongdoer/offender apologizes or compensates the victim.

Restorative justice is a broad word that refers to a growing social movement that seeks to codify peaceful measures to repair harm, resolve conflicts, and protect the rule of law and human rights (Cremini, 2007). In contrast to the Criminal Justice System, a restorative justice approach eliminates or reduces the involvement of the law, experts, and the government. In order to repair the harm and restore relationships, restorative justice actively involves victims, wrongdoers, and their communities. Restorative justice aims to create collaborative enterprises in order to restore reciprocal accountability for good responses to wrongdoing in our society. Restorative justice seeks to balance the needs of the victim, the perpetrator, and the community through processes that preserve each stakeholder's well-being and self-respect (Bazemore and Walgrave, 1999; Umbreit, 1995). Restorative justice also includes compensatory justice. Compensatory justice is a type of justice in which victims are fairly compensated for the harm they have suffered as a result of their wrongdoers' actions. A person's compensation should be proportional to the harm he or she has suffered.

The restorative justice movement has just lately gained traction.The founders of the Contemporary Justice Review wrote:

There still remain a considerable number of people involved in the administration of criminal justice, and many who teach about justice issues at the university level, for whom issues of restorative justice, and even the term itself, remain quite foreign. ~(Sullivan et al., 1998, p.8)

Today, most administrators and scholars in the field of criminal justice, at least in industrialized nations, are familiar with the word. Restorative justice is increasingly being used in a variety of situations, including schools, workplaces, corporations, and politics.

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