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Does Restorative Justice Affect Reconviction?: The Fourth Report From the Evaluation of Three Schemes

NCJ Number
Joanna Shapland; Anne Atkinson; Helen Atkinson; James Dignan; Lucy Edwards; Jeremy Hibbert; Marie Howes; Jennifer Johnstone; Gwen Robinson; Angela Sorsby
Date Published
June 2008
89 pages
This is the fourth report on the evaluation of three restorative justice schemes in the United Kingdom.

This fourth report focuses on one of the key original aims of the Home Office funding: whether restorative justice works in the sense of reducing the likelihood of reoffending and for whom it works in this way. It also covers whether the schemes were of value for the money, measured as whether the cost of running schemes was balanced or outweighed by the benefit of less reoffending. Findings indicate very substantial satisfaction with the process and outcomes of restorative justice on the part of both victims and offenders participating in all three schemes. Additionally, it was found that it would not be particularly beneficial to target the provision of restorative justice, because it is more helpful for some offenders or cases than others in terms of reconviction; there are almost no differences between different kinds of offenders or cases which lead to better reconviction rates. As for the third scheme, findings reveal that restorative justice costs were additional to criminal justice costs and there was no potential for saving money through diversion. Overall the programs did not produce savings in terms of the cost of reconviction. Restorative justice is defined as a process whereby parties with a stake in a specific offense collectively resolve dealing with the aftermath of the offense and its implications for the future. Unlike most restorative justice schemes in England and Wales, the three schemes were designed to focus on adult offenders, some of whom were convicted of very serious offenses. Earlier reports examined how the schemes were implemented, participants’ expectations and take-up rates, and victims’ and offenders’ views on the process and outcomes. Tables, figures, references, and appendix