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Restorative justice in the criminal justice system

Health Factors: Community Safety
Decision Makers: Community Members Local Government State Government Federal Government
Evidence Rating: Scientifically Supported
Population Reach: 20-49% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: No impact on disparities likely

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Description

Restorative justice in the criminal justice system uses victim and offender dialogue to address the harm caused by a crime as well as victims’ experiences, interests and needs (Latimer 2005). This approach can be practiced using sharing circles, victim-offender mediation, or facilitated face-to-face conferences that include victims, offenders, their families, friends, and other community members. Restorative justice can occur throughout the criminal justice process, from pre-arrest to post-sentence, and can take place in settings such as prisons, therapeutic facilities, and communities (Daly 2016, Koss 2014). Judges may consider reducing some offenders’ sentences following restorative justice participation (Sherman 2007).

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

Reduced recidivism
Increased satisfaction with justice process
Reduced post-traumatic stress

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is strong evidence that restorative justice in the criminal justice system reduces recidivism (Campbell-Strang 2013, Latimer 2005, Sherman 2015, Sherman 2007). For juvenile offenders, effects on recidivism appear strongest when restorative justice practices are implemented with researcher involvement and high fidelity to tested models (Schwalbe 2012, Hipple 2014).

Victims of crime who participate in restorative justice efforts have greater levels of satisfaction with the justice process than those who participate in the traditional justice process (Campbell-Strang 2013, Latimer 2005). Restorative justice conferencing can also reduce victims’ post-traumatic stress symptoms (Sherman 2015, Angel 2014, Koss 2014).

Offenders who participate in restorative justice appear more likely to comply with restitution requirements than those who participate in the traditional justice system (Latimer 2005). In some circumstances, offenders report greater levels of satisfaction with the restorative justice process than the traditional justice process (Latimer 2005, Sherman 2007).

Victim-offender mediation appears to reduce juvenile recidivism (Nugent 2004). Arizona-based studies indicate that juvenile offenders in restorative justice conferencing are less likely to reoffend than peers in a traditional diversion program (Rodriguez 2007, De Beus 2007); effects are greater for girls and youth with few prior offenses than boys and youth with more prior offenses (Rodriguez 2007). First-time juvenile offenders who participate in restorative justice programs may be less likely to reoffend than peers in the traditional justice system (Bergseth 2013); additional evidence is needed to confirm effects (Cochrane-Livingstone 2013).

Researchers suggest that police-led conferences and in-person requests to victims support victim participation in restorative justice conferences (Sherman 2007). Victim-centered practice, open and respectful interactions in a safe environment, and facilitator training also support effective restorative justice for youth (Choi 2012).

A Washington-based analysis estimates that restorative justice conferencing cost about $1,080 per participant in 2016, with a benefit to cost ratio of $3.49 (WSIPP-Benefit cost).

Implementation

United States

Restorative justice has been implemented in some states, such as Illinois (IBARJ), and in many American Indian and Alaskan Native communities (Tribal Youth-RJ). City-level efforts are also underway in many communities, including Baltimore's Community Conferencing Center (CCC-Baltimore), Brooklyn's Common Justice (CJ-Brooklyn), and Minneapolis' victim-offender mediation program (OJJDP Model Programs).

Wisconsin

Wisconsin has many restorative justice programs, for example, in Barron (Barron-RJP), Dane (Dane-CRC), and Burnett County (Northwest WI-RJ).

Implementation Resources

CJR-RJ - Center for Justice and Reconciliation (CJR). Restorative Justice (RJ). Accessed on March 30, 2017

Citations - Description

Daly 2016 - Daly K. What is restorative justice? Fresh answers to a vexed question. Victims & Offenders. 2016;11(1):9–29. Accessed on March 24, 2017
Koss 2014* - Koss MP. The RESTORE Program of restorative justice for sex crimes: Vision, process, and outcomes. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 2014;29(9):1623–1660. Accessed on March 24, 2017
Latimer 2005* - Latimer J, Dowden C, Muise D. The effectiveness of restorative justice practices: A meta-analysis. The Prison Journal. 2005;85(2):127–44. Accessed on March 24, 2017
Sherman 2007 - Sherman LW, Strang H. Restorative justice: The evidence. London, UK: Smith Institute; 2007. Accessed on March 24, 2017

Citations - Evidence

Angel 2014* - Angel CM, Sherman LW, Strang H, et al. Short-term effects of restorative justice conferences on post-traumatic stress symptoms among robbery and burglary victims: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Experimental Criminology. 2014;10(3):291–307. Accessed on March 24, 2017
Bergseth 2013* - Bergseth KJ, Bouffard JA. Examining the effectiveness of a restorative justice program for various types of juvenile offenders. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology. 2013;57(9):1054-1075. Accessed on March 24, 2017
Campbell-Strang 2013 - Strang H, Sherman LW, Mayo-Wilson E, Woods D, Ariel B. Restorative justice conferencing (RJC) using face-to-face meetings of offenders and victims: Effects on offender recidivism and victim satisfaction: A systematic review. Campbell Systematic Reviews. 2013:12. Accessed on March 24, 2017
Choi 2012* - Choi JJ, Bazemore G, Gilbert MJ. Review of research on victims’ experiences in restorative justice: Implications for youth justice. Children and Youth Services Review. 2012;34(1):35–42. Accessed on March 24, 2017
Cochrane-Livingstone 2013 - Livingstone N, Macdonald G, Carr N. Restorative justice conferencing for reducing recidivism in young offenders (aged 7 to 21) (Review). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2013;(2):CD008898. Accessed on March 24, 2017
De Beus 2007* - De Beus K, Rodriguez N. Restorative justice practice: An examination of program completion and recidivism. Journal of Criminal Justice. 2007;35(3):337-347. Accessed on March 24, 2017
Hipple 2014* - Hipple NK, Gruenewald J, McGarrell EF. Restorativeness, procedural justice, and defiance as predictors of reoffending of participants in family group conferences. Crime & Delinquency. 2014;60(8):1131–1157. Accessed on March 24, 2017
Koss 2014* - Koss MP. The RESTORE Program of restorative justice for sex crimes: Vision, process, and outcomes. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 2014;29(9):1623–1660. Accessed on March 24, 2017
Latimer 2005* - Latimer J, Dowden C, Muise D. The effectiveness of restorative justice practices: A meta-analysis. The Prison Journal. 2005;85(2):127–44. Accessed on March 24, 2017
Nugent 2004* - Nugent WR, Williams M, Umbreit MS. Participation in victim-offender mediation and the prevalence of subsequent delinquent behavior: A meta-analysis. Research on Social Work Practice. 2004;14(6):408–16. Accessed on March 24, 2017
Rodriguez 2007* - Rodriguez N. Restorative justice at work: Examining the impact of restorative justice resolutions on juvenile recidivism. Crime & Delinquency. 2007;53(3):355–79. Accessed on March 24, 2017
Schwalbe 2012* - Schwalbe CS, Gearing RE, MacKenzie MJ, Brewer KB, Ibrahim R. A meta-analysis of experimental studies of diversion programs for juvenile offenders. Clinical Psychology Review. 2012;32(1):26–33. Accessed on March 24, 2017
Sherman 2007 - Sherman LW, Strang H. Restorative justice: The evidence. London, UK: Smith Institute; 2007. Accessed on March 24, 2017
Sherman 2015 - Sherman LW, Strang H, Barnes G, et al. Twelve experiments in restorative justice: The Jerry Lee program of randomized trials of restorative justice conferences. Journal of Experimental Criminology. 2015;11(4):501–540. Accessed on March 24, 2017
WSIPP-Benefit cost - Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP). Benefit-cost results. Accessed on March 24, 2017

Citations - Implementation

Barron-RJP - Barron County Restorative Justice Programs (RJP). Elevating people, transforming communities. Accessed on March 24, 2017
CCC-Baltimore - Community Conferencing Center (CCC). Baltimore, MD. Accessed on March 30, 2017
CJ-Brooklyn - Vera Institute of Justice. Common Justice (CJ). Accessed on March 24, 2017
Dane-CRC - Dane County Community Restorative Courts (CRC). Repair harm and rebuild community. Accessed on March 24, 2017
IBARJ - Illinois Balanced and Restorative Justice (IBARJ). Strengthening community through restorative justice. Accessed on March 24, 2017
Northwest WI-RJ - Restorative Justice of Northwest Wisconsin (RJ). Working with victims, offenders, and the community. Accessed on March 24, 2017
OJJDP Model Programs - Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). OJJDP model programs guide. Accessed on March 24, 2017
Tribal Youth-RJ - Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Tribal Youth Program: Restorative justice practices (RJ). Accessed on March 24, 2017

Page Last Updated

March 24, 2017

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