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Restorative Justice More Effective for Serious Crime

Restorative Justice More Effective for Serious Crime

“The evidence does not support the view of Sensible Sentencing Trust spokeswoman Ruth Money, that restorative justice is only appropriate for low level offending” says Kim Workman, of Rethinking Crime and Punishment. “Much of the evidence points in the opposite direction.”

“If the Sensible Sentencing Trust is genuinely committed to reducing the number of victims in our community, then restorative justice is something it should support.”

“Restorative Justice conferencing is more effective in cases of serious crime, particularly cases of violence, than in cases of property theft, or minor incidents. Overall, restorative justice conferencing, reduces reoffending by about 20%, with around 90% of victims registering satisfaction with the process, and indicating that it has helped them in the healing process.

“A 2007 UK Ministry of Justice research concluded that there was a 27% drop in reoffending by those who experienced restorative justice across a wide range of offences from less serious juvenile crime through to adult robbery and serious assault, compared with those who took part in the usual criminal justice process.

A 2011 New Zealand research showed a 20% reduction in reoffending, and long term fiscal benefits arising out of 1,500 conferences of $7.6m for the public sector, and $9.9m for the private sector.” Most importantly, 90% of victims registering satisfaction with the process, indicating that it helped them in the healing process.

“My own experience with restorative justice is that in cases of serious violence, the emotional impact on the offender is substantial, and sometimes for the first time, they realise the trauma they have caused the victim and the victim’s whanau. That can be a turning point for both the victim and the offender.”

“Rethinking does agree however, that sexual violence and sex offenders require a specialist approach. Project Restore, in Auckland specialises in such cases, and is one of only four such providers world wide, which provide restorative justice support in cases of sexual violence. The facilitator has an in depth understanding of the dynamics of sexual violence, and is supported by two community experts and a clinical psychologist.”

Kim Workman together with Jackie Katounas, were recipients of the International Prize for Restorative Justice in 2005.


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