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AN OUTCOME EVALUATION OF A RESTORATIVE JUSTICE ALTERNATIVE TO INCARCERATION

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Abstract:

Restorative justice has become an increasingly popular alternative to traditional applications of criminal justice. The emphasis on victim needs and the personalizing of conflict resolution offers an attractive choice for those dissatisfied with the adversarial, impersonal, and retributive focus of the present criminal justice system. Many evaluations of restorative justice programs, especially those with a diversion goal, have rarely controlled for the possibility of net widening and the influence of offender risk on recidivism. This evaluation examined a prison diversion program that followed restorative justice principles. Using a matched comparison group and controlling for offender risk, the program demonstrated a diversion effect and a significant reduction in offender recidivism. The results are encouraging for jurisdictions experimenting with this new approach to justice and seeking a more integrated role for victims in criminal justice processing.

Keywords: Alternative to incarceration; Diversion; Recidivism; Restorative justice; Victim-offender mediation; Victims

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10282580214772

Affiliations: 1: Solicitor General Canada 2: Justice Canada 3: University of Guelph, Ontario 4: Algoma University College, Ontario

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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