Commission on english prisons today
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Commission on English Prisons Today. Restorative Justice and Victims Heather Strang PhD. Research on Restorative Justice. Empirical evidence base now substantial, mainly in relation to face-to-face RJ Research mainly in UK, Australia and US

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Commission on English Prisons Today

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Commission on english prisons today

Commission on English Prisons Today

Restorative Justice and Victims

Heather Strang PhD


Research on restorative justice

Research on Restorative Justice

  • Empirical evidence base now substantial, mainly in relation to face-to-face RJ

  • Research mainly in UK, Australia and US

  • 12 randomised controlled trials on medical model for testing new drugs

  • Tested with:

    • adults/juveniles

    • violent/property crime

    • Prison and community

    • As diversion and in addition to conventional justice


Principal research findings

Principal research findings

  • RJ usually results in reduction in frequency of reconviction (i.e. less crime after RJ)

  • RJ shown to be very cost effective

  • Victims much more satisfied with their justice experience


Rj studies in custody and community sentences

RJ studies in custody and community sentences

  • Pre-sentence studies with burglary and robbery cases in London; most offenders remanded in custody

  • Post-sentence study with violence; all offenders serving custodial sentences

  • Post-sentence study with violence; all offenders serving community supervision sentences


Key issues

Key issues

  • Pre-RJ preparation by RJ facilitator of both offenders and victims re roles and expectations

  • Leads to high take-up and no surprises

  • Special preparations for victims when RJ held in prisons


Findings for offenders in uk prison rj

Findings for offenders in UK prison-RJ

  • In line with earlier findings, reduction on frequency of reconviction by RJ group compared with control group (no RJ)

    • Robbery down 8%

    • Burglary down 16%

    • Prison violence down 33%

    • Community supervision down 55%


Findings for victims in uk prison rj

Findings for victims in UK prison - RJ

  • More satisfied with justice experience

  • Reduced post-traumatic stress symptoms

  • Reduced anger, fear and anxiety

  • Reduced desire for violent revenge

  • Entirely feasible from victims’ standpoint to conduct RJ in prisons


Recommendations for consideration

Recommendations for consideration

  • RJ pre-release

    – offenders to be asked prior to release if they are willing to meet their victims

    - victims to be approached and assisted to meet if willing; if not, then RJ without victims – supporters only

  • RJ with suspended sentences – ‘sword of Damocles’ relating to compliance with RJ undertakings

  • RJ as part of community sentences


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