The evidence isn't merely anecdotal, Brooks adds. The British Ministry of Justice sees an average 27 percent decrease in recidivism among the convicts who go through restorative conferencing. Meanwhile, the victims' incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder drops by 32 percent and the Restorative Justice Consortium estimates an £8 payoff in reduced recidivism for every £1 spent on the program. In other words: the state saves money.
More kumbaya, fewer criminals?
from Heather Horn's post on Atlantic Wire:
Do criminals just need to talk and get some perspective? Yes, the idea seems fluffy, but it looks like some types of talk actually work. "Restorative justice"--in which convicted criminals actually meet their victims--is rapidly gaining ground in the UK.
In one case recounted by Libby Brooks in the Guardian, the victim of a violent burglary wound up shouting at his attacker, telling him "he had crushed every belief [the victim] had that [he] could handle [himself] and protect [his] family." For the attacker, "this was the moment his perspective shifted irrevocably." Despite a history of criminality, he has not reoffended in the past eight years, and is in fact working as a "restorative conference facilitator."