“Restorative” is an amorphous term within our changing and amorphous language of nuances. I don't see society being “restored” with this useful word. It’s a utopianist concept, that uses our fallible “human logic” brain to reason the conclusion we desire. Social meddling with human nature, sadly, as history has shown us, can lead to horrible consequences and miscalculation. Thus, this is a wishful social experiment, that some would use our society… as a laboratory experimental “guinea pig”.
As background on how mother nature wired humans to handle with crime, I dare suggest we study our past anthropological, and behavioral evolution.
Mother nature (aka evolution) long ago optimized human behavior and interaction, to allow us to gather into large cooperative groups. In fact, no other creature, including ants, and bees, can gather into a group of millions, as we do. Its rather amazing, and beautiful, except when its over war and death.
But back to my assertion… if someone NONVIOLENTLY steals John Doe’s wallet with $100… I see no reason we should put him/her in a violent prison. The problem is we have not yet developed the wisdom to segregate non-violent criminals, who can be trusted with power tools and other potentially dangerous implement. This is important, because a safe “PayBack Prison” could be the solution to true Restoration. A prison that fixed old furniture, broken vacuum cleaners, cars, and other gadgets… so the perpetrator can pay real money back to his/her victim..including “prison hotel” costs (ie the overhead for administration)… I will even argue, that with non-violent fraud, theft, malicious damage of property… the perpetrator must pay double the damage back. Why double?… because after all the hassle of prosecution and going to court for the victim, just paying back “the principle”, allows crime to pay..AND not every thief is caught every time.
Drugs are where the author has a good point.. if John uses an illegal drug, or prostitute… where is the victim (please.. I mean a TRUE victim.. not society as a victim). We should have learned that “mixing religion with government” is synonymous with mixing “morality with government”. There should be zero prison for these victimless moral based crimes. Is the drug user a victim? I say no.. victimization cannot be “me against me”… this is just clever twisting of our human gift to create reason, and “false logic”.
I will leave out the related discussion on violent crimes… but the concept here, fellow readers, is that by contrast to “restorative justice”, the alternative: “Retributive Justice” has been working for mankind far longer in the past… it is currently absent, and taboo in our newer definition of “what is justice?”
On this basis, the concept of Retributive Justice is not a new utopian experiment on mankind, but one which has been with our tribal biological behavioral root. Still, I do not advocate it en-mass. Perhaps state or community will voluntarily try either of our proposed solutions.. (the authors and/or mine), and scientifically evaluate it, like we do to evaluate potential medications.