22 Jun ‘Did you know?’ Thursdays
Restorative justice is a movement or practice whereby the victim, offender and affected members of the community are directly involved in responding to the material, physical, social, psychological and relational injuries cause by crime. Restorative justice methods are being implemented in several countries worldwide, including in Malta within probation and parole services.
Does restorative justice work? Several studies have been conducted to assess the effectiveness of the restorative justice approach. Caroline Angel of the University of Pennsylvania examined the impact of restorative justice on robbery and burglary victims and their perpetrators. Victims were randomly assigned to access the court system and participate in a restorative justice conference or to go through just the court system only. The restorative justice conference involved facilitators leading meetings where offenders discussed the effects of the crime on their victims and their family and friends. The study found that a quarter of the victims who did not participate in the restorative justice conference showed symptoms of PTSD, while just 12 % of the group of those who took part in restorative justice conferences exhibited similar symptoms.
Another study conducted by two criminologists at the University of Cambridge found that offenders who participated in the conferences are at lower risk of reoffending.
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