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What is restorative justice?
When the offender makes amends directly to their victim in some form
How may a criminal make amends to their victim?
- Emotionally (apologising)
- Materially (cleaning up graffiti)
What lies at the heart of restorative justice?
The concept of healing and collaboration between offender and victim
What did Andrews and Bonta find in 2006?
- The first instance of restorative justice occurred in Ontario, Canada in 1974
- Two teenage vandals were taken to see victims by their probation officer
What do meetings between offenders and victims allow for?
- Offenders can see the consequences of their actions
- Victims can have their say
- These meetings can act as a final warning for young offenders or can be added onto sentencing
Why is the success of restorative justice difficult to ascertain?
- Each program is individual and diverse
- One recent study suggests that schemes have more favourable outcomes than conventional justice
What was the aim of the Sherman and Strang study of 2007?
To review the evidence of the effects of restorative justice
What methods were employed in the Sherman and Strang study of 2007?
- Data from 36 studies was used to compare restorative and conventional justice
- Some programs involved face to far meetings and others had offenders paying financial reperations
What were the results of the Sherman and Strang study of 2007?
- Offender outcomes: Recidivism was substantially reduced for some young adults and offenders
- Victim outcomes: PTSD symptoms were reduced, desire for revenge was lowered and greater satisfaction with process was reported
What can be concluded from the Sherman and Strang study of 2007?
- Positive evidence is provided in favour of restorative justice programmes, with a recommendation that they be put to far broader use
- In some cases restorative justice schemes can lead to a significant decrease in recidivism rates
Why may face to face meetings be difficult to impose?
- Victims may not want to meet offenders
- Offenders may not feel any remorse for their actions and express this during the interview
What controversy surrounds the scheme?
- It is unknown how much victim involvement is necessary
- Some programmes involve very little victim participation
How can restorative justice be seen as costly?
It may be difficult or expensive to employ trained mediators required for sensitive handling of the programme
How are rates of completion criticised?
Many victims or offenders drop out before the program is finished or only take part in order to decrease a custodial or other non custodial sentence