Source: (2005) Research paper presented at Restorative Justice Consortium Members Forum, 13th April.
Restorative justice seeks to â€˜restoreâ€™ specific features of offenders and victims attributable to the criminal act, however, critics of restorative justice claim that its popularity is based on â€˜humanistic sentimentâ€™ and suggest that the process is incapable of actually â€˜restoringâ€™ victims and offenders. The current study sought to establish if restorative justice is capable of restoring victims and offenders in a meaningful manner, or if restorative justice simply results in a superficial â€˜renovationâ€™ of the impact of crime. 72 victims and offenders participated in a community group conference model of restorative justice and were compared on outcome variables with a control group of victims and offenders who underwent a conventional court process. Results demonstrate that the process is capable of impacting upon variables associated with the criminal act. Furthermore, it is argued that a reduction in offending behaviour and victimisation impact are realistic outcomes of restorative justice processes. Finally, regression analysis indicated that victims were satisfied with the restorative justice process as a result of their greater participation rather than their satisfaction with reparation or restitution. Authors’ abstract.
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