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Restorative Justice

Volume 489: debated on Tuesday 17 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what recent assessment he has made of the effects of the implementation of restorative justice schemes on victims of crime; (263647)

(2) what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of restorative justice schemes in reducing rates of re-offending amongst adult offenders;

(3) what recent steps he has taken to assist the implementation of restorative justice programmes in respect of adult offenders.

Our assessment of the effectiveness of restorative justice for adults following the fourth and final report of the evaluation of the crime reduction programme restorative justice pilots is that it can deliver high levels of victim satisfaction and can be a positive service for victims if delivered appropriately and sensitively. It may also help to reduce re-offending.

We have already published “Best Practice Guidance for Restorative Practitioners”, which provided the basis for National Occupational Standards, a benchmark for the quality of delivery of restorative justice. We have also produced web-based guidance for local criminal justice boards, “Restorative Justice: Helping to meet Local Needs”. The latest research findings, together with the best practice guidance and the guidance to local criminal justice boards, have been widely disseminated, including to regional offender managers and regional commissioners, so that they can be taken into account in future business planning.

We are now considering what further encouragement we can provide to support the continued growth of adult restorative justice, in particular as a means of improving victim satisfaction with the criminal justice process. The National Criminal Justice Board has encouraged the local criminal justice boards to consider how restorative justice approaches for adult offenders could contribute to delivering on their priorities, particularly on victim and public confidence, and be included in their delivery plans. We are currently working with stakeholders, including the Restorative Justice Consortium, to develop a victim focused adult restorative justice strategy which will build on the learning from the pilots.