Source: (2005) Wellington, New Zealand: New Zealand Ministry of Justice.

This study measured the reoffending rate, measured as the reconviction rate, 2 years after a sample of offenders participated in New Zealand's court-referred restorative justice pilot program. The 206 offenders who had participated in a court-referred restorative justice conference had a 2-year reconviction rate of 41 percent, compared to their predicted rate of 45 percent. The reconviction rates for the 10 matched comparison groups ranged from 42 percent to 49 percent (45 percent average). The proportion of the conference group that had not yet reoffended after 2 years was higher than for all 10 comparison groups, but not to the level of statistical significance. The subsequent imprisonment rate for the conference group was 10 percent, which was not significantly different from the average of 12 percent for the comparison groups. The severity of offenses committed did not differ significantly between the conference and comparison groups. Offenders referred to conferences were more likely than those not referred to have fewer and less serious previous convictions and to be traffic offenders. The offender groups with no reduction in reoffending were most likely to be under age 20; to have had their first conviction at age 18 or under; to be Maori; and to have committed burglary, fraud, or serious assault. The study concluded that overall conference outcomes did not significantly affect reoffending rates. Reoffending was assessed throughout the 2-year follow up period and at the end of the 1-year and 2-year follow up periods. The seriousness of reoffending and the subsequent imprisonment rate were also examined. The results for the conference group were compared with their predicted reconviction rates, which were derived from a logistic regression model. The results for the conference group were also compared with the results for 10 matched comparison groups that were selected from eligible offenders who were not referred to the pilot program. 17 tables, 4 figures, and appended description of methodology and group profiles Abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, www.ncjrs.gov.