Source: (2002) York, England: Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Downloaded 25 April 2005.

In 1998, Thames Valley Police launched a restorative cautioning initiative, whereby police officers administering cautions were meant to invite all those affected by the offence, including victims, to a meeting. The police officer used a script to facilitate a structured discussion about the harm caused by the offence and how this could be repaired. Richard Young and Carolyn Hoyle of Oxford University helped the police to implement this new way of cautioning, and carried out a formal evaluation of the process and the outcomes achieved. The researchers found that: Thames Valley Police was largely successful in transforming its cautioning practice. The restorative justice script was used in over two-thirds of cautions. Over the first three years of the initiative, 1,915 restorative conferences took place at which victims were present. In a further 12,065 restorative cautions, the views of any absent victims were relayed by the cautioning officer. This is the largest-scale restorative justice programme in the United Kingdom to date. Implementation of the restorative cautioning model in individual cautions was often deficient. Police facilitators sometimes sidelined the other participants and occasionally asked illegitimate questions. By the end of the research project implementation was much better, although still not always good. Offenders, victims and their respective supporters were generally satisfied with the fairness of the process and the outcomes achieved. Cautioning sessions that adhered most closely to restorative justice principles tended to produce the most positive outcomes. Restorative cautioning appears to be significantly more effective than traditional cautioning in reducing the risk of re-offending. (excerpt)


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