8.23.2011

When politicians take their responsability to the citizens

By Virginia Domingo
I thought there aren’t responsible politicians and committed to society. The image I have of them is more concerned with power, criticizing the opposition party and also when something serious happens they point to the view that they believe will make them win more votes.
However it seems that yes, there is a hope, there are politicians who take responsibility and instead of acting led by populist propaganda, they act for the common good and for the better attention to citizens. I am talking about Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister of UK, in the newspaper “The Guardian” there was some news about what he thinks and what they are going to do with the riots that happened in that country:

Clegg to say people convicted of rioting crimes should have to look their victims in the eye, while nº 10 plans a public engagement exercise to establish causes of disturbances”
people convicted of looting or violence in last week’s disturbs being made to do community service or take part in a restorative justice programmes”
They should have to see for themselves the consequences of their actions and they should be put to work cleaning up the damage and destruction they have caused so they do not do it again”
Victims of crime are only truly protected if punishment leads to criminals not committing again”

It is interesting to see how in an exercise of political responsibility, they have finally understood why Restorative Justice is so important for all members of society. Maybe Restorative Justice doesn’t sell itself as good as the popular claim for tougher penalties but the duty of politicians as a representative of all citizens is to seek the benefits, satisfaction and care of all of them and it is clear that Restorative Justice makes more satisfied and happier citizens why?

First because Restorative Justice addresses the impact of crime not only the material aspect but also the psychologist, social, community and moral. As I have said in several occasions, restorative practices give voice to victims and those affected by a harmful event allow them to express themselves and above all to decide what they need to be repaired of the damaged and continue with their lives.
For offenders face the victims and or the consequences of their actions is often a revelation that can lead them no to reoffend and to learn that beyond the punishment, the repair of the damage caused to the victim comes first and it is a important thing and socially constructive benefit.
It also contributes to make a more responsible and mature community as they will be an important part throughout the restorative process.
It is also interesting to see how they want to find the root of the conflict, why the riots happened so they want to give voice to neighborhoods and communities where the violence began and I pleased to see that they have realized that only punishment does not protect victims. Punishment is no useful if we don’t try also to make offenders understood the damage they have caused because this will help them as a “sobering” so as not to reoffend.
I usually ask myself a question are we really sure that offenders after they are punished they will not reoffend? Or are we making them “victims of the system”?
When we know that a crime has happened in our immediate environment we lose our sense of security, I even feel a bit paranoid, so as a potential victim I wish justice can restore me a bit of calm, and for that it is good that offenders can face voluntarily the consequences of their behaviours and see that their actions have harmed humans as them. I am not a dreamer, and I know that not everyone will want to take part in a Restorative Justice process but I am sure that many of them who do it, will change their future behaviour because the act of looking face to face their victims and commit to compensate or repair the damage will lead to “remorse” and a desire to be a new person away of crime.
This can be more impressive and educational in juveniles offenders, young persons often act led by social environment and their companies, they usually believe that their actions are only jokes and they have really not caused actual harm to real people. I remember a case in which and young boy had been caught painting the facade of a university residence, he didn’t see the harmful act, he only saw his action as a rebellion against authority with the restorative process he could see that his graffiti had to be cleaned by council services, they had passed the bill to the residence and to cope with this excessive invoice they increased the fee to students. He could see that his behaviour had caused damaged to his friends, fellow students and people like him, this impacted on him, and I am sure that we will not commit similar crimes again since them.

The fact of wanting to use Restorative principles is a great success by british government and it shows that despite the seriousness of the events, we can always get something positive and in a collective exercise of self-responsibility, I am sure that they can build a new social community, more mature and peaceful.

I wish that our politicians would take note of the wisdom of English counterparts as Nick Clegg who also has a lot to do with our country because he is married with a Spanish woman. And above all, it is time for Restorative Justice.

Si quieres leer más artículos de Virginia Domingo entra en http://cj-worldnews.com/spain/

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