The American justice system has viewed criminal behavior as a crime against "the state, leaving crime victims with no input into the legal process of the administration of justice in today's courts. Restorative justice today recognizes the act of crime as being directed against individual people. Restorative justice is based on resolving conflict and making everything connected to the crime "whole again , thus healing the effects, restoring back to original condition, and making amends to all affected by the crime.
Retributive justice focuses on punishment, whereas the new paradigm of Restorative justice accents accountability, healing and closure. This is accomplished through face-to-face contact between offender and victim. This relies on an old and widely used practice used today. Known as victim-offender mediation. Developing a restitution plan, allowing the offender to hear the total impact the act had upon the victim, and sometimes the community, allows the healing process to begin (Umbreit 1996).
Many Restorative justice programs recognize the need for an offender to admit his or her guilt before moving on in the process of restoration.