Economic Evaluation of Restorative Justice


Economic evaluation logoWhy me? conducted an economic evaluation of Restorative Justice, comparing restorative interventions for victims of crime and offenders with the conventional justice system. The research analysed the economic impacts of Restorative Justice interventions, including impacts on reoffending and its direct benefits to victims. 

This project represents an innovative approach to demonstrating the value of Restorative Justice. Economic evaluations are underutilised in the social sector, but are compelling in demonstrating the best possible outcomes in the prevention of crime with limited resources. Through the unique partnership between an experienced economist, Frank Grimsey Jones, and Why me?, we conducted a rigorous piece of research which is designed to make a substantial and lasting contribution to the Restorative Justice evidence base and impact decision making. 

The results of this research present a strong argument for investment in Restorative Justice, showing that Restorative Justice can reduce reoffending, save money and help victims to recover. This is before accounting for the broader benefits of Restorative Justice in improving perceptions of justice amongst victims and society. Overall, the report found that the cost-social benefit ratio of Restorative Justice was £14 per £1 invested and the direct return on investment for the Criminal Justice System was £4 per £1 invested. This adds to the strong evidence base which demonstrates that increasing access to Restorative Justice should be a policy priority for national and local decision makers. 

Read the report 

Read a short summary

See the model


How does the model work?

In the following videos, Frank Grimsey Jones explains how you can use the model to work out the economic value of Restorative Justice in your area.

Read the written instructions

What did we do?

  • Conducted an economic evaluation drawing upon the best available data, following rigorous industry standard methods and building on existing research. 
  • Developed an accessible and user-friendly economic model in Microsoft Excel so that non-experts can use it to understand hypothetical scenarios for the implementation of Restorative Justice.
  • Used the economic model to assess the financial and social impact of a large-scale increase in Restorative Justice. This provided a compelling evidence base on which to increase investment in this powerful intervention.
  • Published a report, detailing the approach we took to the research and the results in terms of the economic impact of Restorative Justice. 
  • We are currently pursuing academic publication of our research. We are also engaging with researchers, policy makers and experts across the criminal justice sector to share our findings, communicate the value of Restorative Justice and promote the use of economic evaluation within the social sector. 

Why did we do this?

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 Victim’s Code of Practice, it remains the case that only a small minority of people affected by crime receive access to it. Only 5.5% of victims with a known offender recall being offered Restorative Justice. More investment is needed to ensure that everyone affected by crime can access Restorative Justice. 

The social sector often relies on value-driven reasons for investment, particularly individual stories, or needs-based arguments. We wanted to use economic evaluation and modelling to be certain that money is being used to best effect and to build the case for further investment into Restorative Justice.

Existing studies have the disadvantage that they model the impact of a Restorative Justice intervention carried out in a specific way, in a specific place, at a specific time, as is typical of trial based economic evaluations. We therefore wanted to create an up-to-date and accessible economic model to communicate the value of Restorative Justice. 

Our recommendations

Increasing access to Restorative Justice should be a policy priority within the Criminal Justice System. Having conducted this research, we believe that this can be achieved by implementing the following recommendations.


Please get in contact with us if you have any queries or want to discuss the research using


The research is funded by the Halley Stewart Trust and the Rank Foundation. Twitter: @RankFoundation

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