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The time for alternatives

April 7, 2010

A UK study of restorative justice programs showed that such programs are generally successful. They reduced victim’s post traumatic stress symptoms, proved victims and offenders with more satisfaction with the criminal justice system, reduced crime victim’s desire for violent revenge against their offenders, and reduced the cost of criminal justice. Restorative programs seem to reduce recidivism more effectively with serous crimes. Restorative justice programs have been successful with reducing recidivism for juveniles as well. The rate of recidivism dropped with participation in any restorative program. Success rates were highest when formal programs were used, rather than simply attaching restitution to another formal punishment, such as probation.

The cost of the prison system and the number of incarcerated individuals is skyrocketing. Alternatives such as restorative justice programs not only reduce the cost of the criminal justice system, but also benefit victims and offenders.  These programs can reduce the cost of the prison system because they have the power to reduce recidivism. A reduction in recidivism is beneficial for offenders, victims, and the general public.

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