New research conducted by the New Zealand Ministry of Justice has found that offenders who take part in restorative justice conferences have lower reoffending rates than comparable offenders who did not take part in conferences.
The report adds to the growing body of international research showing the effectiveness of restorative justice at reducing reoffending. The study found that restorative justice conferences reduced the amount of offenders who reoffended, and for those who did reoffend, it reduced the frequency of that offending. Those who participated in conferences:
- Committed 23 per cent fewer offences than comparable offenders over the following 12 months.
- Had 12 per cent lower reoffending rates than comparable offenders over the following 12 months.
The study compared 2,323 offenders who had taken part in restorative justice conferences with 6,718 similar offenders who were eligible to take part in a conference but were unable to do so for a variety of reasons for example because the victim declined.
The authors of the report estimate that the 1,569 restorative justice conferences which took place in New Zealand during the 2011/2012 financial year will lead to 1,100 fewer offences being committed.