Source: (2005) Criminology & Public Policy. 4(1): 103-130.

Research Summary: Communities represent an important facet of restorative justice; yet few studies have empirically evaluated the influence that community characteristics have on reintegrative programs. In this study, I use official juvenile court data from an urban, metropolitan county in Arizona and Census data to examine how individual- and community-level data influence the selection of offenders to a restorative justice program. To examine the effectiveness of the restorative justice program and to determine if program impact varies by community, recidivism is modeled with individual- and community-level data. Findings indicate individual and community characteristics are important predictors of restorative justice program placement. Also, juveniles who successfully completed the restorative justice program were less likely to recidivate than were juveniles in a comparison group. Recidivism results show no variation of program impact across communities. Policy Implications: Study findings demonstrate the importance of incorporating community- level data in studies of restorative justice. Restorative justice programs must be sensitive to local, community characteristics and ensure that reintegration efforts do not exclude offenders in need. The successful reintegration process experienced by juveniles who participated in the restorative justice programs is clearly reflective of program effectiveness.