Effects of face-to-face restorative justice on victims of crime in four randomized, controlled trials

Author(s)Sherman, Lawrence, Strang, Heather, Angel, Caroline, Woods, Daniel, Barnes, Geoffrey, Bennett, Sarah and Inkpen, Nova
Title Effects of face-to-face restorative justice on victims of crime in four randomized, controlled trials
Source Journal of Experimental Criminology Springer Netherlands Vol 1, Number 3, September 2005, pp. 367-395
Date 2005
Document type Journal article
Coverage England and Australia
Summary This study used four randomised trials to assess whether restorative justice is better than conventional justice at reducing repeat offending and whether restorative justice is better at repairing the harm that crime causes victims. An outline of the theoretical background to restorative justice is given. The study included two Canberra experiments and two conducted in London, covering a range of crimes. One of the significant differences between results in the two cities was regarding apology. Apologies were transacted far more often in London conferences than in Canberra conferences and there were corresponding differences in levels of forgiveness. The results showed in general that from a crime victim's perspective, restorative justice conferences create a successful interaction ritual for renewing commitment to group morality. In addition the conferences were successful from a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy position, in normalising victim contact with the offender. However, it was also found that restorative conferences had no effect on the tendency for victims to blame themselves, in contradiction to the goal of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
Keywords Restorative justice; reducing harm; offender meetings; revenge; apology
Topic Restorative justice