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Traumatic Experiences
225
Who has been harmed by a crime?
What are their needs?
Who should be accountable for addressing those needs?
What can be done to address the harm?
RJ engages victims, offenders and other concerned parties in
answering these questions and in making decisions about
how to address the harm. RJ requires offender accountability
and responsibility and promotes healing for victims and
safety for the community.
Restorative justice has been used in communities around the
world for over thirty years. Research on the effectiveness of
restorative justice versus traditional criminal justice shows
that restorative justice reduces recidivism (the likelihood of
an offender committing another crime). Poulson’s 2003
review of seven empirical studies of restorative justice from
around the world compared psychological outcomes for
victims and offenders in restorative justice programs versus
traditional criminal justice processes and found “unanimous
support for the positive outcomes of restorative justice.”
Poulson’s review, “
. . . summarized data on twelve
psychological outcomes from an international collection of
seven studies comparing restorative justice programs and
court procedures. The results, to be frank, were
extraordinary. For victims, restorative justice outperformed
court on every outcome except for consideration of opinion.
For offenders, restorative justice outperformed court on