This report discusses restorative justice programs in the Australian criminal justice system.
The report begins with an examination of current restorative justice programs in use in the system. The main definition of restorative justice on which these programs are based is centered on a process in which all parties that have a stake in a particular offense come together to work collectively to find a solution and deal with the aftermath of the offense. The most common forms of restorative justice programs operating in Australia are victim-offender mediation, conferencing, and circle sentencing. An overview of these programs is presented in the second section of this report. The third part of the report presents a summary of research examining the impact of restorative justice. The studies have found that while a positive impact exists for both offender and victim, the impact of these programs on reoffending rates is mixed. The fourth section of the report discusses the current and future challenges surrounding restorative justice programs. Current challenges deal with upscaling following pilot programs, caseflow problems, safeguarding rights, and whether the programs are appropriate and effective in Indigenous and ethnic communities. Future challenges involve extending restorative justice to adult offenders, extending restorative justice to serious offenses, and achieving restorativeness. Tables and references
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AIC Reports Research and Public Policy Series 127