Source: (2001) London: Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate

This report presents the results of a 15-month study of the effectiveness of seven British restorative justice (RJ) schemes conducted between December 1999 and June 2000, two of them dealing primarily with adult offenders and the other five with juveniles. The objectives of the research were to identify which elements, or which combination of elements, in RJ schemes were most effective in reducing crime and at what costs, as well as to provide recommendations on the content of and best practice for schemes to be mainstreamed. Following an initial feasibility study, fieldwork for the main body of the research began in December 1999. The main elements of the fieldwork were the collection of descriptive information about the schemes' status, history, philosophy, policies, and practices; and the collection and analysis of process and output data about the practical operation of schemes, the impacts of the schemes, data relevant to measuring outcomes, and data relevant to the determination of cost-effectiveness. The schemes evaluated were diverse in their understanding of the notion of "restorative Justice," their degree of focus on victims and offenders, and their implementation of the interventions which they undertook. The schemes were also fragile in being vulnerable to funding cuts, and they were often dependent on intensive labor commitments by small numbers of exceptionally committed individuals. Even at the times when they were receiving substantial numbers of referrals, most schemes made unambiguously "restorative" interventions in relatively few cases. Victims who had experienced some form of restorative justice were broadly favorable toward the concept, appreciating the opportunity to express their views and experience some restoration based on offender action.