Source: (2007) Victims and Offenders. 2(3):289-301.

For almost two decades restorative justice practices have demonstrated positive impacts on crime victim satisfaction when compared to court and other adversarial processes. Although restorative justice practice has by no means addressed the myriad needs of the majority of crime victims, researchers and policy makers have puzzled about how to interpret these generally positive findings. We suggest that remaining difficulties in interpretation and application of findings are due largely to (1) the lack of clear standards for gauging the integrity, or “restorativeness,” of interventions and (2) the failure to articulate logical mechanisms (i.e., intervention theories) that connect practices to immediate and intermediate outcomes, and these outcomes to long term changes in the well-being of victims, offenders, and communities. This article focuses primarily on the first problem, defining the “independent variable” in restorative practices aimed at having an impact on crime victims. Using qualitative data from a national case study, a principle-based approach to evaluation with implications for intervention theory and both input and outcome measures in future research is proposed and briefly illustrated.(author's abstract)