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Restorativeness, Procedural Justice, and Defiance as Predictors of Reoffending of Participants in Family Group Conferences

NCJ Number
Crime & Delinquency Volume: 60 Issue: 8 Dated: december 2014 Pages: 1131-1157
Natalie K. Hipple; Jeff Gruenewald; Edmund F. McGarrell
Date Published
December 2014
27 pages

Building on two studies from New Zealand and Australia, respectively, which relied on variation analyses in assessing whether differences in the family group conference (FGC) process affected future offending, the current research tested whether FGC characteristics derived from reintegrative shaming, procedural justice, and defiance theory account for variations in reoffending.


Prior research has suggested that family group conferences (FGCs), a particular form of restorative justice, hold promise in reducing reoffending among youths, at least for some types of offenses. Most prior research, however, has simply assessed whether participation in a FGC resulted in reduced rates of reoffending compared with control or comparison groups in court or diversion programs. These prior recidivism studies have largely left unaddressed the characteristics of the FGCs that may produce differences in reoffending, with the exception of the two studies referenced in the current study. The findings of the current study suggest that the more the FGC appeared to follow principles of restorativeness and procedural fairness and avoided defiance, the less reoffending occurred. Specifically, offense type and conference restorativeness influenced the probability of recidivism at 6 months; whereas, offense type and race influenced the probability of recidivism at 24 months. Data for the current study were obtained from a sample of youths (N = 215) who participated in a FGC as part of the Indianapolis Juvenile Restorative Justice Experiment (IJRJE). (Publisher abstract modified)