Since the 1990s, a new type of court has been developed — ‘problem-solving courts’, where the focus is on solving the problems, not just punishment. Drug courts, community courts, domestic violence courts, mental health courts, wellness courts,… the list is growing. For more information, see the Center for Court Innovation and Problem Solving Courts.
Here’s a very superficial look at two models of the justice system, our traditional model found in most jurisdictions and a community-based, restorative model found in a few communities and many indigenous communities.
It is worth noting that it’s not uncommon to have recidivism rates >50% in our traditional system, while recidivism in community-based restorative systems tends to be far lower, often <10%.
Some traditional goals:
- Crime Prevention
- Law enforcement
- Punishment of offenders
- Re-Entry & Supervision
- A safer community
- Inclusiveness, integrating people into the community
- Restoring the victim and community
- Restoring the offender
- A community that is stronger and safer
As noted above, this is a very simplified comparison. The purpose is to suggest possibilities and avenues for exploration.