Source: (2007) Criminology & Public Policy. 6(4):689-696 .

After noting that restorative justice as a strategy for responding to crime has universal appeal, this essay examines why this is so. At the 2000 United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders, a resolution that encouraged all nations to promote restorative justice passed unanimously. This suggests that the principles of restorative justice have received a positive response in societies throughout the world. This has occurred most likely because restorative justice addresses the harms to the victim due to the crime as well as correcting the offender's behavior that caused the crime. This is done within the context of conferences in which victims and offenders provide input into the best way to address harms to the victim and rehabilitate the offender while holding him/her accountable for the crime. Restorative justice is acceptable to persons with diverse political orientations because it does not totally replace the traditional sentencing options of incarceration when it is warranted. Restorative justice has the additional feature of providing a forum for considering a variety of options for responding to the circumstances of a particular case based on the proven effectiveness of various victim services and offender treatment programs. Although the promised benefits of restorative justice are appealing, this appeal would wane if it did not deliver on these promises. Evidence has progressively proven the effectiveness of restorative justice in reducing reoffending and satisfying victims that justice has been done. The effectiveness of second-generation, post-1997 restorative justice programs in reducing reoffending has been significantly greater than early programs. This suggests that restorative justice programming is being modified and improved under evaluation research. Abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, www.ncjrs.gov.