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News - 2 July 2008

Report: "Restorative justice reduces crime by 27%"

A report by the University of Sheffield shows that the experience of "restorative justice", in which offenders confront their crime victims, reduces the frequency of reconviction by an average of 27%.

The findings were presented to the Cambridge Conference on Evidence-Based Policing yesterday (Tuesday)  and follow an evaluation of seven Cambridge University-led experiments in restorative justice by a team led by Professor Joanna Shapland, Director of the University of Sheffield's Centre for Criminological Research.

The seven experiments, designed and directed by the Wolfson Professor of Criminology at Cambridge, Lawrence Sherman, and his co-director Dr Heather Strang, who directs the Centre for Restorative Justice at the Australian National University, began in 2001 and were conducted in collaboration with the Justice Research Consortium.

They compared almost 400 cases where offenders had attended restorative justice conferences to some 400 cases where they had not. During the conferences offenders listened to victims describe the harm the crimes had caused. Each conference lasted from one to three hours, often in prison settings. Victims found the process helpful and positive, while some offenders have described the meetings as "traumatic", as well as life-changing.

The report estimates that £9 of costs to victims and the criminal justice system were saved for every £1 spent on delivering these conferences.

For the rest of this item from the Sheffield Telegraph, click here

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