A summary of the previously published relevant evidence base
1. The following research findings are taken from either Shapland et al 2nd Report ‘RJ in practice; an evaluation of 3 schemes (published 5/05) or Shapland et al 3rd Report ‘RJ; the views of victims and offenders’ (published June 07). www.justice.gov.uk/publications/research.htm
• 85% of victims were very or quite satisfied with their RJ conference
• 80% of offenders were very or quite satisfied with their RJ conference
• 74% of offenders would recommend to others
• 78% of victims would recommend to others
• Professor Shapland describes the offender/victim recommendation rates as ‘ overall a ringing endorsement of RJ
• 79% of offenders thought RJ would lessen risk of re-offending
• 95% of victims participating in conferences thought they were approached in the right way
• 72% of victims said conference had provided them with a sense of closure.
• 83% of conferences discussed specifically how to stop the offender from committing similar types of offences again
• Many offenders commented that having taken part in a conference helped them feel more able ‘ to get on with life’
2. The following research findings are taken from the report by Professor Lawrence W. Sherman, Wolfson Professor of Criminology at Cambridge University and Dr Heather Strang Australian National University – ‘Restorative Justice, The Evidence’ (published by Smith Institute February 07) www.smith-institute.org.uk.
They refer specifically to the practice of the Justice Research Consortium of which Thames Valley criminal justice agencies were consortium members.
• Less feelings of violent revenge against the offender on the part of those victims who had participated in a RJ conference compared to those in the control group (Sherman et al 2005)
• Less post traumatic stress symptoms for victims as a result of RJ conferencing (Angel 2005 PhD Dissertation University of Pennsylvania)
• Less post crime impact on employment for victims as a result of RJ conferencing (Angel 2005 PhD Dissertation University of Pennsylvania)
• Lower adjudication rates for those prisoners who experienced RJ conferencing in London prisons, post conviction, pre sentence. (Sherman et al unpublished 2005)
NB: The Sherman and Strang research findings above relate to the Random Controlled Trials (RCT) conducted under the auspices of the Justice Research Consortium’s Home Office funded research project (2001- 2004). The RCT was developed under the direction of Professor Lawrence W. Sherman and independently evaluated by Professor Joanna Shapland, Centre for Criminological Research, Sheffield University.
RCTs are widely acknowledged to be the gold standard for research.