Source: (2007) Journal of Criminal Justice. 35(3):337-347.

Using individual and community data, this study examined how offense type and poverty level influenced program completion and recidivism among juveniles who participated in a restorative justice program, as well as the relationship between program completion and recidivism.The data showed that 89 percent of juveniles in a Maricopa County (Arizona) diversion program based on restorative justice principles and 86 percent of juveniles in the comparison group successfully completed the programs in which they participated. Twenty percent of the juveniles in the restorative justice program reoffended compared to 32 percent of juveniles in the comparison group. Status offenders in the restorative justice program were more likely than status offenders in the comparison group to complete the program successfully; and status and property offenders in the restorative justice programs were less likely to recidivate than similar offenders in the comparison group. Juveniles from communities where a moderate proportion of residents lived in poverty (i.e., between 11 and 20 percent) were .83 times as likely to complete the program than juveniles who resided in communities where a small proportion of residents (less than 11 percent) lived in poverty. The two other poverty measures used showed similar negative effects on program completion. The restorative justice program, known as the Community Justice Committees (CJC) was designed to divert juveniles away from formal court processing. The CJC functions much like a family group conferencing program, in that the victims and family members respond to the harm caused by the offense at issue. Case resolutions may include restitution to the victim, community services, a fine, counseling, and educational sessions. Juveniles complete the terms of the resolution in 60 to 90 days. This study examined all juvenile referrals (n=9,255) eligible for diversion who were processed in either the CJC or the standard diversion program. All of the juveniles were processed from January 1999 through June 2001. (Abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service,