Project Paintball Restorative Justice
Submitted By TwilightGoddess
CJ3100 A System of Juvenile Justice
Steve Hundersmarck Ph.D.
Module 2 Project
August 8, 2011
The Paintball Case Study : Restorative Justice In reading the paintball case history through the court proceedings, the juvenile took a plea agreement with a maximum sentence of two years probation and 45 days of jail time. The alternative had he been tried as an adult was incarceration in prison for a term of two to eight years. I honestly believe that the outcome of a case like this in my community would rely heavily on a lot of outside social factors including race and social status of the individuals involved. If the juvenile was already on probation for something such as theft as did the defendant in the case study, I believe that would weigh very heavily on his chances of a lenient sentence as well. In fact I’m almost certain more jail time would be imposed. While socioeconomic status would play a role in my community in regards to the case outcome, I think if the juvenile showed remorse as did Justin in this case, that would be a major contributing factor to determining proper consequences. The media is always looking for remorse in criminals and openly expresses disgust for the lack there of in my town. I’d foresee a public outcry if a harsh punishment was imposed on someone who was genuinely sorry for their actions, especially a minor. The core values of restorative justice according to the text are (1) promote public safety and protection of the community (2) heighten accountability of youth towards victims and community for offenses (3) increase competency and improve character. All of these values were exemplified in the case study in my opinion. Public safety was promoted by them agreeing to have Justin go to schools speaking on the dangers of paintball guns. He was held accountable by having to write letters to the newspaper and magazines of which one of his letters was published in the town paper. I believe his character was improved instantly just by the remorse he showed even before the talks and even more so having the support of the victim and her family after the fact. Due to this unfortunate incident the victim lost sight in her eye and the offender had to spend time in jail. Those are both harms in my opinion although one is looked upon as a form of retribution for the crime committed. The harm was healed through personal and public apology, as well as educating the public on the dangers of reckless play with paintball guns. The community as a whole was responsible for healing the harm. It took all parties being able to come together to talk amicably in order to find a resolution, then agreeing to that resolution, and lastly it took the support of the judicial system to sign off on the terms that had been reached by the offender, victim, families, and community for a resolution that brought peace to all involved, when imposing a final sentence. In order for restorative justice approach to be used in my community such as the one in this case study, first and foremost there would have to be a change in mindset as discussed in the Restorative Justice article by Tom Cavanaugh. We would have to get beyond the need for a just deserts attitude and consider the best possible outcome for all parties involved. After all these are still children that we are dealing with, which means there is always an opportunity to educate, nurture, and restore positive values.