Restorative Justice’s Role in Criminal Justice Reform

ACADEMIA Letters: Kenneth Lang, Glenville State College; August 2021


With the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, and now the conviction of Minneapolis Police Officer Derrick Chauvin, decries to defund the police and institute genuine criminal justice reform continue to echo across this nation. Officials have struggled to grapple with the turn in the tide as violent crimes spikes with the defunding the police (CNN, 2021). While calls to ‘defund the police’ has obscured the idea of reimagining police departments, the larger question centers on how we can achieve reform throughout the criminal justice system. Police agencies and communities will undoubtedly be the catalyst in bringing about the necessary reform. One aspect of reform that has not received much attention and could potentially prove to be promising, pivots on the precepts of restorative justice. By instituting restorative justice
more consistently in criminal violations community policing efforts, and internal affair investigations, police agencies open the door to bringing about a more equitable form of justice, shifting the justice paradigm from a retributive mindset to a more restorative collaboration.

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