Source: (2012) Master's Thesis. University of Northern Colorado.

Restorative Justice is an approach to resolving conflict that has become increasingly relevant as both financial and social costs associated with crime have continued to rise. As alternative methods of managing crime are being considered and implemented there is a call from policy makers for evidence that those programs are indeed the best practice. Although there is a significant amount of research on restorative justice, synthesis of that information is lacking which impedes full understanding of the potential of the impact and role of this approach. A central argument is that restorative based programs produce benefits because they reduce recidivism rates. Is that true? I conducted a meta-analysis on 24 published studies to evaluate the claims for effectiveness and to discover what aspects of restorative justice programs are most effective in reducing recidivism, as well as what offender characteristics make for the best restorative justice candidates. Analysis indicated that recidivism may be decreased more for adults than juveniles, when there is contact with the direct victim of the offense, and after the offender goes through the treatment. Surprisingly, community involvement, the ability to develop consensus, and victim satisfaction indicated an increase in recidivism. (author's abstract)

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