Northern Ireland Justice Minister David Ford told the Belfast Telegraph recently: "The Youth Conferencing system works extremely well in Northern Ireland in challenging young offenders to face up to the emotional and physical consequences of their actions.
....In a recently-published report, the UK’s Independent Commission on Youth Crime and Anti Social Behaviour www.youthcrimecommission.org.uk/ – a charity which is organised by the Police Foundation www.police-foundation.org.uk with funding from the Nuffield Trust www.nuffieldfoundation.org/ – cited the Northern Ireland experience as one of the reasons why restorative justice should be applied to youth offending in England and Wales.
The Commission conducted an 18-month study into alternatives to the existing responses to youth crime in England and Wales and concluded that restorative justice meetings, known as ‘youth conferencing’, are the way to deliver better justice for the victims of crime, while cutting re-offending rates and reducing the number of young people who end up in prison.
....Meanwhile, the Restorative Justice Consortium www.restorativejustice.org.uk/? and Victim Support www.victimsupport.org.uk/ have produced a joint report which claims that the introduction of restorative justice in England and Wales for victims of adult offenders would save the Criminal Justice System £185 million over two years by cutting re-offending by 27 per cent.