Challenges in Implementing Restorative Justice Practices in the United States
The purpose of this study was to research the challenges that restorative justice practices come across in their institutional and implementation phases within the United States. The modern concept or philosophy of Restorative Justice has been around for about four decades since the 1970s or 80s. There have been multiple studies made to prove that restorative justice practices might reduce recidivism incarceration costs, while also creating a more fulfilling experience for all parties involved, including minimizing feelings of revenge from the victim. So why has the United States criminal justice system not made more advancements to incorporate more restorative justice practices? Many people who are stakeholders in or are affected by the criminal justice system recognize that the current practices are unfulfilling in various ways.
The organization I was volunteering with wants to move its practices toward a complete restorative justice practice model, and has been coming across difficulties in the process. It was in my interest to conduct this research to pinpoint the challenges that current or future restorative justice programs might come across to prevent further conflict in their movement. Using semi-structured interviews and convenience sampling, I spoke to program managers, directors, and restorative justice advocates across the United States who share similar frustrations.
The research findings conclude many reasons creating these barriers. Of them include but are not limited to, a lack of resources, time commitment, lack of education, and the paradigm shift that contradicts the adversarial power system we currently have.
My hope for this research study is to help future and current organizations that are interested in implementing restorative justice practices for their own communities.