Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the criminal justice system and its efforts of justice and reconciliation, commonly known as restorative justice, have taken a huge hit. Restorative justice (“RJ”) is a system that focuses on the rehabilitation of an offender through the reconciliation of a victim and the members of a community. For victims, RJ provides a way to get answers that only the offender can provide. For example, many victims ask themselves questions such as: “Why me?” or “Could I have prevented this?” For offenders, RJ provides a direct opportunity to take responsibility for their actions and make amends for the harm the offender has caused to both victims and the community as a whole.
Currently, societal reintegration for offenders is extremely difficult due to the ongoing pandemic. So, can RJ efforts still work during this time of social distancing? The process of online mediation provides a promising road for online RJ. Although the original structure of RJ was set up for face-to-face mediation, the abundance of technology options available today makes it possible to produce a similar structure online. With online RJ work, there is a risk that the sincerity and vulnerability of both the victim and the offender may be lost. Despite this, however, RJ efforts can begin online and continue at a later time when individuals can once again communicate in a face-to-face setting if they wish to do so.
If you would like to discuss online mediation further, please contact Karl’s scheduling team at (512) 345-8537. Additional information on the procedures that Karl utilizes for online dispute resolution can be found here.