Source: (2013) Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD008898. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD008898.pub2.

The number of young people who commit offences remains an area of concern in many countries, particular considering the high rate of those who then go on to reoffend. An increasingly popular technique used with young offenders, as an alternative to normal court proceedings, is to conduct a Restorative Justice Conference. This conference involves a meeting between the offender, the victim or victims, the supporters of both and a conference coordinator. The conference gives all individuals involved a chance to share their experience and to decide together how best to repair the harm caused by the offence. It is believed that providing an opportunity for the offender to make amends for what they have done, along with the victim's forgiveness, increases the satisfaction of all those involved and reduces the likelihood of reoffending. The purpose of this review was to look at whether young people who are part of a restorative justice conference are less likely to reoffend than those who go through normal court proceedings. Four randomised controlled trials were included in this review. Findings indicate that there was no difference between those who are part of restorative justice conferences and those in normal court proceedings in terms of the rate of reoffending after the intervention. There was also no difference between these two groups in terms of a change in their self-esteem or their satisfaction with the process. Results may indicate that victims who are part of a restorative conference are more satisfied than those who are part of court proceedings. The quality of the included studies was low. More high quality research using a design where participants are randomly allocated to an intervention or control group is needed. (author's abstract)