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Reintegrative Shaming, Procedural Justice, and Recidivism: The Engagement of Offenders' Psychological Mechanisms in the Canberra RISE Drinking-and-Driving Experiment

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Advocates of restorative justice (RJ) hypothesize that the diversion of criminal cases to RJ conferences should be more effective in lowering the rate of reoffending than traditional prosecution in court processing because the conferences more effectively engage the psychological mechanisms of reintegrative shaming and procedural justice. This study uses longitudinal data from the drinking-and-driving study in the Australian Reintegrative Shaming Experiments (RISE) to evaluate the long-term impact of reintegrative shaming and procedural justice on support for the law and on later recidivism as assessed through the use of police records and by self-report. Analysis first suggests that there is no direct effect of experimental condition on later recidivism. However, it further suggests that both traditional court-based prosecution and RJ conferences increase support for the law and lower the rate of future reoffending when they engage the social psychological mechanisms of reintegrative shaming and procedural justice and thereby increase the legitimacy of the law. Hence, the results argue for the potential value of procedures such as the RJ conference but indicate that those procedures will only achieve their objectives if they are effectively designed and implemented.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-5893.2007.00314.x

Affiliations: 1: New York University, 2: University of Pennsylvania, 3: Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University, and 4: Jerry Lee Center of Criminology

Publication date: September 1, 2007

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