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A Third Voice: A Review of Empirical Research on the Psychological Outcomes of Restorative Justice

Poulson, Barton
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) Utah Law Review. 2003(1): 167-203. University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law. Downloaded 13 October 2003.

Within the field of restorative justice, at least three voices may be heard: the voice of theory, the voice of practice, and the voice of research, which is the focus of this Article. Data from seven evaluation studies of restorative justice and court programs from around the world are combined on twelve psychological outcomes, such as judgments of fairness, accountability, increased respect, and reductions in fear. Despite substantial differences in the implementation of the restorative justice programs and the persons and cases included, the data were remarkably consistent: restorative justice outperformed court procedures on almost every variable for victims and offenders. In addition, connections between the benefits of restorative justice and recent psychiatric research on youth suicide are sketched, with the possible benefits of restorative justice (as compared to court) in saving lives. Overall, restorative justice emerged as a compelling and
effective alternative to court in all measured outcomes. (Author’s abstract).


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