the current thinking is to DF and then reinstate
Although elders are given the power of discretion in JC decisions, they also must follow guidelines, in other words they must df under certain circumstances although it would appear that the person repented. For example, a person comes back to the KH after 16 years and confesses he joined the army, killed a couple of hundred people, married a couple of times but now is living with someone different, abuses drugs, tobacco, alcohol, and steals, and now he repented and wants to be accepted in the community after 16 years of being away. But he confesses, he did not get snagged. Have we got news for this fellow! Well, he has to stop what he was doing, come to meetings, wait 6 months or longer and then he can request to be reinstated.-But in the mean time....... - Sometimes there is a reason other than true repentance for a confession and that reason may not be determined at the hearing so confession does not secure that the sinner will not be DF.
Say a person is a first offender that has been practicing sexual immorality for years and now he confesses and wants to come clean. That person could be shown mercy and publicly R at the discretion of the committee. Or maybe he committed adultery or some other unholy act or even practiced it ,he could also only be publRe. but it depends. Sometimes a person confessed because he got snagged and is shown mercy anyway.
With repeat offenders, and someone that was PR before and has not stopped has shown that he is not repentant and therefore, this time...... But the rule is not to df and then reinstate. The rule is that is is better to make a mistake and show mercy given that it fall within the guidelines of that case. But if a person commits a gross sin and immediately confesses, that is proof right there that the person is repentant. And he should not be DF inspite of other disciplinary actions taken against him.
A JC is not about acquitting someone or finding alleged sinner guilty although guilt must be established before there is any basis for taking judicial action (But if you have come this far, you are guilty I bet) It is about the person's heart and whether he is repentant.
If you are a male JW, you are through. It does not matter whether you are DF or reproved especially if you are and elder or leader. You lost your respect and you will never recover. True you can be appointed elder in time and time heals all wounds but face it, you are disgraced and things will never be the same again .
If you are a female it is hard enough finding a mate if you are a sister in the org. Many sister never find mates. Now, who would want to get yoked with a problematic sister that was dF given better choices?
Bottom line is that it makes some difference whether you are DF or PR but not much. Both get disciplined and disgraced. When it does make a big difference is if your immediate JW family are unbalanced. Certain conduct cannot be tolerated from people living with you -JW or not so- and saying DF is harsh should not be used as a pretext so you can do whatever the heck you want in relation to your immediate relatives and expect to be treated the same. But everything considered JW family members need to be kind to DF family members if they want to help them.
NOTE: My remarks above are only about the human consequences of DF and does not address the "spiritual" aspect, etc.. of DF.