What is Restorative Justice ( RJ )?
People harmed by crime often feel as though they have very little involvement in the criminal justice process. Restorative Justice gives victims the option to meet the offender. The victim is then able to tell the offender the impact their actions have had on the their life, to get answers and an apology. It allows offenders to understand the real impact of what they have done, to take responsibility and make some amends.
By meeting and getting some answers, victims are able to move on with their lives and offenders realise that their actions have consequences.
Latest statistics have shown that Restorative Justice delivers 85% satisfaction for the victims and reduces re-offending by 14% (Ministry of Justice).
“The most traumatic experience of my life, but the most rewarding. I was particularly pleased when [the victim] said he got something from it and when he held my eye contact. It was not easy to go through but to see [the victim] relieved and happy afterwards made me feel like I have put something back.” – Offender (Thames Valley Probation)
“I was glad I did the meeting – I think it made a lot of difference to me and [the offender]. It was a good education for everyone as it breaks down barriers between people. Listening helped me understand [the offender] better and see him differently and I think [the offender] understood where I was coming from. It takes courage to sit down and talk to one another, but it was a very good and important thing to do.” – Victim (Thames Valley Probation)
Restorative Justice and Probation
Restorative justice programmes are being run by some probation offices in the UK and is considered as an option in the first instance by many police forces in dealing with lower level offending. Each month MJW are going to be focusing on one Restorative Justice programme. This month is Thames Valley Probation Restorative Justice programme.
You can keep up with all the latest on Restorative Justice on the Restorative Justice Council’s website
And you can learn more about Restorative Justice by visiting our useful links page
“I thought it was incredible – an amazing experience with such a positive outcome. I recognized it was difficult for everyone at the beginning but the way the meeting unfolded was very reassuring. I was relieved to see [the offender] confront the harm he’d caused after being challenged by [the victim and victim’s mother]. I feel it helped everyone involved and would definitely recommend it to others.” – Offender Manager (Thames Valley Probation)
Restorative Justice Video
This video features Make Justice Work ambassador Peter Woolf. Peter is a former offender and in this video he explains how Restorative Justice changed his life.
For more videos about RJ go to the Make Justice Work gallery