What I found most compelling about “unitive” justice was its consideration of the larger community. I'm a believer in conflict resolution and mediation, but oftentimes these approaches focus on a small incident and do not consider the bigger picture. For instance, if two men got into a fight, they have several options: they could further escalate the conflict by getting their friends/family involved, file an assault charge, or they could opt for mediation.
While not all parties are willing to engage in mediation because of animus, a sense of pride, or other reasons – if we consider that an assault charge may result in jailtime for one or both which could separate them from their children; jailtime could cause them to lose their jobs and make it more difficult to pass a background check and get hired in the future; that a loss of income could push them and their families further into poverty – if we consider all this then we can see it is not just about “punishing one person,” but that a punitive system has far reaching impacts on many other people. If the two parties involved in the dispute realize this, I think they'll be more likely to at least try mediation over the court system.