Understanding the value of Restorative Justice

Published: Thursday, February 24th, 2022


This is a blog by our Researcher Frank Grimsey Jones.

 

Whilst Restorative Justice interventions have been used in the UK for some time, and all victims are required to be offered Restorative Justice under the Victims’ Code of Practice 2021, it remains the case that only a small minority of victims and perpetrators receive access to it. Only 5.5% of victims with a known offender are aware of being offered Restorative Justice.

I am a health economist who is collaborating with Why me? through to 2023 to conduct an innovative research project: evaluating the economic impact of Restorative Justice. We have received funding from the Halley Stewart Trust and the Rank Foundation to conduct a research project to increase understanding of the impact of Restorative Justice interventions on victims of crime, perpetrators of crime, government and wider society. 

Restorative Justice conferencing, in which a trained facilitator leads a conversation between the victim and perpetrator of a crime, is the Restorative Justice intervention with the most developed evidence base. Benefits include reduced reoffending and reduced trauma among victims, which could lead to reduced public spending on prisons, court costs and psychological support for victims. Though research has demonstrated that Restorative Justice conferencing reduces reoffending, there has been very limited economic evaluation. Previous cost-benefit research has been useful, but is limited by the fact that it is predominantly trial based and is outdated. 

Developing a flexible economic model, drawn from secondary research, will enable national policy-makers and local commissioners to quantify the financial and social impact of a large-scale increase in Restorative Justice provision. We will draft a report that summarises the findings of our research and we plan to publish the economic model so that researchers and decision makers can use it and review it. Analysing, synthesising and disseminating the evidence as to the impact of Restorative Justice conferencing will help to make it a policy priority and increase the likelihood that victims and perpetrators are able to access a necessary, evidence-based intervention. 

‘I know from direct experience that people who go through Restorative Justice really benefit. I am really delighted that we have started this exciting research project, which combines Frank Grimsey Jones’ commercial economic expertise with our knowledge and understanding of Restorative Justice, with the aim of producing a practical model for commissioners and policy-makers.’

 

Lucy Jaffé

Working with Why me? on such an innovative research project to evaluate Restorative Justice interventions will present an interesting opportunity to apply a rigorous health economics methodology in a social policy context. These interventions have the potential to make a substantial difference to the lives of people experiencing acute hardship. If you’re interested in hearing more about the research, please do get in contact via info@why-me.org.

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