Source: (2003) Centre for Community Research, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, Herts, UK.

This evaluation of the introduction of a restorative justice (RJ) approach in a young person's residential unit was undertaken at the request of the Hertfordshire Youth Justice Service. Staff at Hertfordshire County Council Children School and Families Service's Stanfield residential young person's unit had agreed to be trained in, and implement, a RJ approach when dealing with problematic and/or criminal behaviour exhibited by residents. It was agreed that the independent evaluator would conduct interviews with staff and young people in order to examine how attitudes and practice changed between the pre-introduction period and six months afterwards. Nine staff were interviewed prior to the introduction of RJ, and six staff six months afterwards, utilizing semi-structured interview schedules. Two group sessions with staff were led by the evaluator, one in the unit for younger residents and one in the unit for older residents. The group sessions took place six months after the implementation, and focussed upon the effects and processes of the implementation of the RJ approach, and allowed substantial periods of time to explore the issues raised in the individual semi-structured interviews. At the end of the implementation period, two interviews with young people took place; one within the younger person's unit, and the other within the older young person's unit. Rates of recorded police call outs, and incidents recorded within the establishment, were also examined. (excerpt)