Source: (2005) Research paper presented at Restorative Justice Consortium Members Forum, 13th April.

Restorative justice seeks to ‘restore’ specific features of offenders and victims attributable to the criminal act, however, critics of restorative justice claim that its popularity is based on ‘humanistic sentiment’ and suggest that the process is incapable of actually ‘restoring’ victims and offenders. The current study sought to establish if restorative justice is capable of restoring victims and offenders in a meaningful manner, or if restorative justice simply results in a superficial ‘renovation’ of the impact of crime. 72 victims and offenders participated in a community group conference model of restorative justice and were compared on outcome variables with a control group of victims and offenders who underwent a conventional court process. Results demonstrate that the process is capable of impacting upon variables associated with the criminal act. Furthermore, it is argued that a reduction in offending behaviour and victimisation impact are realistic outcomes of restorative justice processes. Finally, regression analysis indicated that victims were satisfied with the restorative justice process as a result of their greater participation rather than their satisfaction with reparation or restitution. Authors' abstract.

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