What is Restorative Justice?
Restorative Justice is an intervention method used that supports the person harmed from crime to communicate with the person who is responsible for causing the harm. It is available at various stages of the criminal justice process including; after arrest, after conviction or even once the person responsible for the crime has been released.
Many victims feel that the criminal justice system does not give them a chance to get involved, therefore, Restorative Justice puts victims at the heart of the justice process; it also holds the person responsible for the crime committed to account, in order for them to understand the impact of their actions, taking responsibility and to make amends.
Restorative Justice can also have an impact on the wider community as it has been proven to reduce re-offending rates in offenders which in turn could reduce the number of persons harmed by crime. There have been many studies showing the positive results, however, Restorative Justice can only be used with offenders who admit their guilt.
As Restorative justice is a voluntary process, it gives victims the chance to meet or communicate with their offender to explain the real impact of the crime – it empowers victims by giving them a voice. It also holds offenders to account for what they have done and helps to educate and awaken the impact of the harm caused . Restorative Justice often involves a conference, where a victim meets their offender face to face. Sometimes, when a face to face meeting is not the best way forward, the victim and offender will communicate via letters, recorded interviews or video instead best way forward, the victim and offender will communicate via letters, recorded interviews or video instead.
The process also gives the person responsible for causing the harm the opportunity to apologise, makes amends and explain the reasoning behind causing the harm, whilst acknowledging the change needed to prevent further offending and accept the personal impact of their crime.
Restorative Justice has shown a 14% reduction in the frequency of re-offending for offenders who have taken part in the Restorative process
The satisfaction rate for victims taking part in the Restorative process is 85%
Only 5% of victims with a known offender recall being given the appropriate and entitled information about Restorative Justice.
Research undertaken by Government demonstrated 85% of victims who take part in Restorative Justice find the process helpful.
Source: Restorative Justice Council