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THE ROLE OF RESTORATIVE JUSTICE IN COMPLEMENTING THE JUSTICE SYSTEM AND RESTORING COMMUNITY VALUES IN NIGERIA
Restorative Justice, an option for contemporary criminal justice system, which is characterized by punishment of offenders through imprisonment, could be resolved by adopting restorative justice system in dealing with cases that could be settled out of the criminal justice system, thereby reducing the problems of prison congestion, funding, abuse of court process, long duration of civil litigation, and non-compliance with court orders and judgments. Restorative justice stresses repairing the damage caused by crime. When victims, offenders and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results can be life-changing. This article focused on the role of restorative justice, first, as a conflict prevention mechanism and resolution, as well as an avenue for restoring community values and second, its role in complementing the current criminal justice system in Nigeria which is characterized by politics, corruption, and bureaucratic processes. The article argues that restorative justice can be used to complement the current justice system in Nigeria, thereby helping in reducing offenders’ imprisonment and prison overcrowding.
Key Words: conflict, crimes, community values, stakeholders, and restorative justice.