The Effectiveness of Restorative Justice Programs: A Meta-Analysis of Recidivism and Other Outcomes

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Fulham, Lindsay




Restorative justice (RJ) is an alternative approach to the traditional criminal justice system (CJS) that focuses on repairing harm. Despite the recent proliferation of RJ programs, research suggests that their efficacy depends on various factors such as study methodology. The goal of the present study was to synthesize previous research on the effects of RJ in reducing recidivism as well as improving other outcomes. The findings from 59 studies on 67 samples examining the effectiveness of RJ programs were analyzed. The results revealed that RJ was associated with significant moderate reductions in general recidivism and improvements in satisfaction, procedural justice, offender accountability, offender attitudes, and reoffence severity. There were significant sample, study, and program moderators for general recidivism and victim procedural justice. Taken together, the results provide moderate support for the efficacy of RJ programs in reducing recidivism and suggest their potential for improving other outcomes over traditional CJS approaches.




Carleton University

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