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The “Independent Variable” in Restorative Justice: Theory-Based Standards for Evaluating the Impact and Integrity of Victim Sensitive Process (Part II).

Bazemore, Gordon
June 4, 2015

Source: (2007) Victims & Offenders. 2(4):351-373.

For almost two decades restorative justice practices have demonstrated positive impacts on crime victim satisfaction when compared to court and other adversarial processes. Although these practices have by no means addressed the myriad needs of crime victims, researchers and policy makers have puzzled about how to interpret these generally positive findings. We suggest that remaining difficulties in concluding that positive findings are a result of restorative process rather than some other factor (e.g., procedural justice) 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. In part 1 of a two-part discussion previously published in this journal, we described alternative definitions of restorative justice and outlined three core principles that provide a useful normative theory of restorative justice. In part 2, we focus on the “intervening variable” in restorative justice, utilizing qualitative data from a national case study to illustrate some potential immediate and intermediate outcomes of restorative justice practice on victims. We also discuss the implications of these outcomes for intervention theory and future research. (author’s abstract)


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