“Restorative justice” refers to justice practices that encourage offenders to take responsibility for their actions and to repair the harms they have caused. In the use of restorative justice conferencing (RJC), offenders and victims who agree to participate are assisted by a trained facilitator to communicate, and to seek ways to resolve the offense and the consequences that it had on the victim. The families and friends of both offender(s) and victim(s) may be involved in the meetings.
… only studies that employed a randomized design to test the effects of conferencing between at least one personal victim and one or more of their offenders on repeat offending or on victim impact, with the random assignment following both offenders’ and victims’ consent to participate in an RJC if selected to do so. Ten eligible studies on three continents were identified, with a total of 1,879 offenders and 734 interviewed victims.
The review team’s findings suggest that in cases in which both offenders and victims are willing to meet, RJCs appear likely to reduce future crimes. The results also suggest that victims’ satisfaction with the handling of their cases is consistently higher for victims assigned to RJCs than for victims whose cases are assigned to normal criminal justice processing.