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Agreements in Restorative Justice Conferences: Exploring the Implications of Agreements for Post-Conference Offending Behaviour

NCJ Number
British Journal of Criminology Volume: 54 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2014 Pages: 109-127
Hennessey Hayes; Tara Renae McGee; Helen Punter; Michael John Cerruto
Date Published
January 2014
19 pages
Drawing on data from qualitative observations of young-offender restorative justice conferences in Australian jurisdictions and interviews with the offenders at intervals of 7 days and 1 year after their conferences, this study examined arguments both for and against the use of such conferences.
The study findings indicate that many offenders, whether or not they stopped offending or had reoffended after 1 year, reported that they were actively involved in negotiating their conference agreements and perceived that their agreements were fair and satisfying as well as proportionate to the harm they had caused. A small percentage of young offenders perceived their agreements as unfair, onerous, and overly time-consuming. None of the offenders who continued offending after their conference reported experiences or attitudes that would suggest they viewed their conference agreements as a key factor in their reoffending; on the other hand, there were no indications from the majority of the offenders who stopped offending that they viewed their conference agreement as important in influencing their desistance from offending. Although these findings are based on a qualitative study of a relatively small number of young offenders (n=32) who participated in restorative justice conferences in Australia, the study findings warrant further qualitative and quantitative research on the impact of restorative justice conferences and compliance with their agreements on the subsequent behavior of participating offenders. 48 references