How Restorative Justice helps
There is a strong and growing research evidence base that shows Restorative Justice meets the needs of victims and offenders and reduces the frequency of re-offending, which in turn decreases the number of future victims.
The Ministry of Justice commissioned The University of Sheffield to evaluate Restorative Justice between 2001 and 2008. Professor Joanna Shapland and her team evaluated the work of three restorative justice projects. Thames Valley Restorative Justice Service (TVRJS) was a research partner in this process.
Trends and Statistics
- Restorative Justice is safe
- 95% of victims participating in conferences thought they were approached in the right way
- Restorative Justice received a ‘ringing endorsement’ from both victims and offenders
- 72% of victims said their conference had provided them with a sense of closure.
- 85% of victims were very or quite satisfied with their restorative justice conference
- 80% of offenders were very or quite satisfied with their restorative justice conference
- 74% of offenders would recommend to others
- 78% of victims would recommend to others
- The Restorative Justice process is a very powerful catalyst for change with Restorative Justice shown to be a tipping point in the motivation of those offenders who are minded to avoid re-offending
- Restorative Justice reduces the frequency of further offending by 14%
- 79% of offenders thought restorative justice would lessen the risk of re-offending
- 83% of conferences discussed specifically how to stop the offender from committing similar types of offences again
- Many offenders commented that having taken part in a conference helped them feel more able ‘to get on with life’
- Restorative Justice is cost effective and represents value for money. At best for every £1 spent in delivering Restorative Justice conferences, there is a subsequent £9 saving for the criminal justice system
- All victims’ services and criminal justice agencies benefit from restorative justice in terms of reduced costs as a result of less frequent further offending.
Sources: Professor Joanna Shapland’s fourth and final report published by the Ministry of Justice in June 2008, headlined these trends that are relevant to the Thames Valley Restorative Justice Service context;
Shapland et al 2nd Report ‘RJ in practice: an evaluation of three schemes’, May 2005 and Shapland et al 3rd Report ‘RJ: the views of victims and offenders (published June 07).
These key research outcomes refer specifically to the practice of the Justice Research Consortium of which Thames Valley criminal justice agencies were members.
- Less post crime impact on employment for victims as a result of restorative justice conferencing (Angel 2005 PhD Dissertation University of Pennsylvania)
- Less post traumatic stress symptoms for victims as a result of restorative justice conferencing (Angel 2005 PhD Dissertation University of Pennsylvania)
- Less feelings of violent revenge against the offender on the part of those victims who had participated in an restorative justice conference compared to those in the control group (Sherman et al 2005)
- Lower adjudication rates for those prisoners who experienced restorative justice conferencing in London prisons, post conviction, pre sentence. (Sherman et al unpublished 2005)
Source: report by Professor Lawrence W. Sherman, Wolfson Professor of Criminology at Cambridge University and Dr Heather Strang Australian National University – ‘Restorative Justice, The Evidence’ published by Smith Institute February 07 www.smith-institute.org.uk.