Restorative Justice Movement

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Introduction
There is a significant problem with crime in the United States. Prison sentences are long, harsh and damaging to inmates and prison sentences do little to deter criminal behavior. Furthermore, a portion of criminals, in the prison environment, either enter the prison environment with a mental illness or they develop a mental illness while incarcerated (Steadman, Osher, Robbins, Case, & Samuels,2009). A significant way to reduce criminal behavior in the United States is to prevent recidivism. Recidivism is a relapse back into criminal behavior after receiving reprimand of some kind. Offenders who have mental illnesses have been found to be the most likely offenders to recidivate. (Wilson, Draine, Hadley, Metraux, & Evans, 2011).
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It is paramount in the restorative justice movement that offenders meet their clients and see the damage that offending has caused to their victims. Furthermore, the movement suggests that it is important to provide mental health treatment to those offenders who are in need in order to help these offenders better adjust to society (Van Ness, Carleson Jr., & Strong 1989). It should be noted that mental health courts, and the restorative justice movement are relatively young and have only recently become popular. Thus, the research base is extremely limited. Due to limited sample sizes most of the reviewed studied do not meticulously define type of mental health treatment and diagnoses. Thus, participation in mental health treatment, participation in mandated mental health treatment and participation in mental health courts as variables have been examined rather than the specific treatments or specific diagnoses. It should also be noted that participation in mental health treatment influenced mental health treatment being mandated by courts, which influenced the creation of mental health courts. Thus, it makes logical sense to first discuss the effectiveness of participation in treatment in reducing recidivism among …show more content…
For example, participation in case management services has been found to be effective in reducing the likelihood that mentally ill offenders recidivate (Solomon, Draine, & Meyerson, 1994). However, even though case managers may be effective in reducing recidivism among their clients, other mentally ill offenders with mental illnesses may be less likely to recidivate when they receive treatment from mental health professionals. For example, mentally ill offenders with “serious” mental illness who received treatment were found to be the least likely to return to prison after one year, this was less likely than those with no mental illness and no treatment and those with mental illness who remained untreated (Wilson, Draine, Hadley, Metraux, & Evans, 2011). “Serious” mental illness was defined as having either a schizophrenia spectrum disorder or major affective disorder. This result could be because those with “serious” mental illnesses receiving treatment may meet with their mental health professionals frequently and the offenders focus specifically on their behavior in their sessions with their mental health professions. Mental health professionals may also be more effective than case managers at suggesting more resources for their clients and may be better

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