The Ministry of Justice supports victim-focused restorative justice (RJ) because it has been shown to provide significant benefits to victims, and it has also supported the availability of restorative justice to offenders because of its potential in reducing recidivism.
The evidence is presented here. It can be summarised as follows:
RJ reduces reoffending
There are not yet enough data to provide clear results, but the Ministry of Justice’s analysis suggests that restorative justice conferencing can reduce reoffending by 14% and save the wider system £3 for every £1 spent.
An analysis of ten studies on restorative justice conferencing found that the effect on repeat arrests or convictions varied across the 10 experiments, between a 7% and 45% reduction.
RJ benefits victims
Here the evidence is much stronger. RJ trials have consistently shown high victim satisfaction. Around 85% of victims are ‘very’ or ‘quite’ satisfied with their victim offender conferences.
Restorative justice also provides health benefits to victims. A randomised control study found that RJ helped alleviate post-traumatic stress symptoms for victims of robbery or burglary and it can also have therapeutic benefits for the family members of homicide victims.