Watch the “Meet Author Sunny Schwartz” video located on the student website. What is your impression of Sunny Swartz’s approach? What interventions may be most beneficial for those incarcerated and why? How is her approach different than what incarcerated individuals may be used to? 

I think the interventions are unique in that they are approaching violent crime from a community and from a rehabilitative approach. I thought that the analysis of the crimes and using identifications of causes for committing violent crime is helpful. Things such as basic group therapy and other interventions have not seemed to work. This is the first time I have seen a restorative justice program that is this comprehensive in the US. I believe that programs of this nature offer the most beneficial solution as long as the program remains evidence based. In the past, the criminal justice system attempted to resolve these issues through deterrence methods such as longer sentencing, ordering parolees to be gainfully employed, or attending counseling sessions. While these blanket policies were well-intended, they have been largely ineffective because they did not take into account the individual characteristics and issues of offenders, such as lack of education, family situations, and other factors that may limit the person’s ability to adhere to the requirements of release policies. Within this scope, restorative justice attempts to take into account these issues and this particular program works to root out causes. According to Mesmaecker (2010) there are three issues that make the implementation of rehabilitative justice programs problematic. These issues include:

(1) the victim’s position in both restorative justice theory and practice; (2) the characteristics of media reporting on crime in general and victims in particular; and (3) the risk of attaining a result opposite to the initial objective (i.e. increasing punitive attitudes instead of promoting restorative justice) (Mesmaecker, 2010).

If the program can stay on track and remain evidence based it may have a strong chance of remaining successful.

References

Mesmaecker, V. D. (2010). Building social support for restorative justice through the media: is       taking the victim perspective the most appropriate strategy?. Contemporary Justice          Review, 13(3), 239-    267.

 

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