Objectives: This paper synthesizes the effects on repeat offending reported in ten eligible randomized trials of face-to-face restorative justice conferences (RJCs) between crime victims, their accused or convicted offenders, and their respective kin and communities.
Methods: After an exhaustive search strategy that examined 519 studies that could have been eligible for our rigorous inclusion criteria, we found ten that did. Included studies measured recidivism by 2 years of convictions after random assignment of 1,880 accused or convicted offenders who had consented to meet their consenting victims prior to random assignment, based on “intention-to-treat” analysis.
Results: Our meta-analysis found that, on average, RJCs cause a modest but highly cost-effective reduction in the frequency of repeat offending by the consenting offenders randomly assigned to participate in such a conference. A cost-effectiveness estimate for the seven United Kingdom experiments found a ratio of 3.7–8.1 times more benefit in cost of crimes prevented than the cost of delivering RJCs.
Conclusion: RJCs are a cost-effective means of reducing frequency of recidivism.
- Restorative justice
- Systematic review
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine