The ACT’s Restorative Justice program is delivering positive outcomes for victims of crime and reducing recidivism and offending behaviour.
Minister for Justice Shane Rattenbury has today released an evaluation of the impact of restorative justice for both victims and juvenile offenders who participated in conferences between 2005 and 2016.
“Restorative justice empowers victims of crime to participate in a safely guided process that promotes offender accountability and gives victims an opportunity to express how an offence has affected them and others close to them,” Minister Rattenbury said today.
“Participants are encouraged to engage in a full and honest discussion about the criminal behaviour, its impact on those harmed and how further harm can be prevented.
“Offenders referred to restorative justice are, on average, more likely to be young males charged with a violent or property offence, and have more extensive criminal histories than offenders who are not referred to restorative justice conferencing.
“Offenders who participated in Restorative Justice Conferences were less likely to reoffend or to reoffend as often as people who did not participate in a conference.
“When compared to offenders who are not referred to a restorative justice conference, restorative justice participants are deterred from offending in the lead up to a conference, take longer to reoffend following the conference and accumulate fewer offences.”
The evaluation observed that first time offenders were less likely to reoffend after going through Restorative Justice conferences than those with a prior record - 46.8% rate of reoffending compared to 76.2%.
“I was also pleased to see that the vast majority, that is between 97 and 99 per cent, of participants felt empowered to speak freely throughout the process, that it had been fair, and that their rights had been respected.
“The positive results from this independent evaluation follow years of positive survey feedback from victims and offenders.
“Now that the Restorative Justice scheme has been fully rolled out to include all offence categories, the Government will continue to evaluate its benefits.”
Restorative justice conferencing in the ACT supports the Government’s commitment to the ACT Justice Reinvestment Strategy, and contributes to the Labor-Greens Parliamentary Agreement to reduce recidivism by 25 per cent by 2025.
The Restorative Justice conferencing evaluation was undertaken by the Australian National University and Australian Institute of Criminology.
The evaluation report is available online: www.justice.act.gov.au. Minister Rattenbury will be made available for interviews at the Legislative Assembly Public Entrance today at 12:40pm.
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Section: Shane Rattenbury, MLA | Media Releases
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