Restorative Justice as a Psychological Treatment: Healing Victims and Reintegrating Offenders

Lawrence W Sherman, Heather Strang

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    A substantial body of scientific evidence now shows that restorative justice conferencing (RJC) is an effective psychological treatment for offenders and their victims. While there are many varieties of programmes described as 'restorative', only RJC, in which offenders and victims meet in person with family or friends, has been subjected to extensive and rigorous testing. The evidence is particularly strong with respect to violent crimes, even though RJ may be most difficult to arrange in such cases. Results from 12 randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in the UK, Australia and the USA cover adult and youth crime, violent and property crime, offenders in prison as well as in the community, RJC as diversion and as a supplement to ordinary prosecution and sentencing. Outcomes for offenders include reduced frequency of reconviction and cost of crimes committed. Outcomes for victims include reduced post-traumatic stress symptoms, anger, desire for violent revenge, fear and anxiety. Forensic psychologists may be in an ideal position to provide access to RJC for far more victims and offenders than are presently offered oppurtunities for it in the UK. They may also be able to enhance the evidence base by conducting and reporting small-scale RCTs in their own practices.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationForensic Psychology
    EditorsG Towl and D Crichton
    Place of PublicationChichester, UK
    PublisherBlackwell Publishing Ltd
    ISBN (Print)9781405186186
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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