Over time, criminal justice has been an emerging and controversial subject in the world justice system. The justice systems of many states seek to correct the behaviors of individuals found guilty of committing certain crimes. It is up to the justice systems to understand the psychology of criminals when deciding on the kinds of corrective measures to deal with some crimes. Criminal justice is a system in which institutions of the government maintain social control by deterring and mitigating unlawful activities (Khey et al., 2011). The system maintains social control by sanctioning people and entities that violate laws through the use of penalties and rehabilitative methods.
Justice systems should fully understand why an individual committed a crime; in such a way, the system will be able to determine the best corrective methods, whether to impose fines or rehabilitate these individuals. Nonetheless, since human rights are recognized all over the world and for all people, criminals also have protective laws that prevent their abuse or abuse of investigatory and prosecution powers by persons carrying out the investigations and handing judgments (Khey et al., 2011). Based on this, most states have come up with some alternative dispute resolution when meting out criminal justice.
The use of ADR methods is widely accepted because they do not go against the basic fundamental rights of suspects or criminals and other parties involved. However, the use of ADR needs to consider some issues such as the sociological questions as to the nature of the crime, the role of the justice system, and the relationship that exists between the individual, the community, and the state. Political and economic considerations must be made when using ADR methods in solving conflicts that are criminal in nature (Schehr, 2010).
ADR methods of conflict resolution and criminal justice include mediation, arbitration, and conciliation. However, one wonders what the most effective system to use in criminal justice could be; could it be mediation, where a third party resolves disputes between two or more parties with concrete effects? This method can be effective to some degree, though there may be questions on how it helps rehabilitate criminals.
ADR has not gained popularity in criminal justice because people have difficulties in finding ways to rehabilitate criminals using methods such as mediation, arbitration, and conciliation (Dhami, 2012). ADR mostly resolves conflict without resorting to formal court-based adjudications. Nonetheless, use of ADR methods has gained considerable popularity because of the great dissatisfaction that people have with the traditional, adversarial methods of dispute resolution. ADR methods used in the criminal justice system include victim/offender mediation, victim assistance programs, and community crime prevention programs (Schehr, 2010). These methods help the victims while at the same time ensuring rehabilitation of culprits not to repeat the offense.
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The victim/offender mediation process has to be the most effective way of dispensing criminal justice when using the ADR methods. A mediator who is trained and community-based prepares the parties communicate and provide them with an opportunity to meet in a secure and controlled site through a process. The victim presents the impact of the crime on him or her. This process, however, does not focus mainly on reaching a settlement. Nonetheless, most sessions usually end in compensating the victim (Dhami, 2012).
Victim/offender mediation process aim is to facilitate the remedying the victims. It is through this process, the victim overcomes all the pent-up angry emotions towards the offender. It also let the perpetrator to learn of the crime’s effect on the victim: enabling him or her to take responsibility of his or her actions. In using this type of method, the mediator has to assure the victim of his or her safety and maintain rapport while studying all types of communication and requesting feedback from the victim (Keršuliene, Zavadskas, & Turskis, 2010).
The process also requires a careful screening of the cases such as the type of the offense and ages of both parties to find an effective way of dealing with them. Due to this fact, offenders are expected to take responsibility of their actions and participate willingly for the process to succeed (Dhami, 2012). The mediator should also meet with the offender to determine whether he or she is willing to participate in the process. It is also very important that both the offender and victim choose to participate freely to avoid situations of stalemating the mediation process.
This type of mediation has proved effective, especially because it gives the offender an opportunity to right the wrong in whatever way the victim considers valuable. It also gives the victim an opportunity to confront the offender with the real human impact of the offense; therefore, offering the victim some closure (Choi & Gilbert, 2010). This also creates an opportunity for the victim to ask for compensation from the offender and be seen as a person and not an object or target by the offender. The process is beneficial to the offender because it gives him an opportunity to comprehend the real human consequences of the offense and to participate in deciding the restitution to the victim. This also gives him or her opportunity to restore self-image (Choi & Gilbert, 2010).
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The use of ADR methods in criminal justice has proved effective because the criminal takes responsibility for his or her actions and the victim understands from where the offender has come and, therefore, is able to find some form of closure.