25 September 2023

Justice scheme passes evaluation test

Start the conversation

An evaluation of the ACT’s Restorative Justice program has found it to be resulting in positive outcomes for victims of crime, reducing recidivism and offending behaviour.

Releasing the evaluation, Minister for Justice, Shane Rattenbury said it covered 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,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“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.”

He said offenders referred to restorative justice were, on average, more likely to be young males charged with a violent or property offence, and had more extensive criminal histories than offenders who were not referred.

“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,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“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 the conferences than those with a prior record — 46.8 per cent rate of reoffending compared to 76.2 per cent.

“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,” Mr Rattenbury said.

The 32-page evaluation can be accessed at this PS News link.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.