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Assessments of restorative justice programs for youth have uncovered both promising and mixed outcomes, according to a new OJJDP literature review, Restorative Justice for Juveniles. Designed to repair harm caused to those affected by a crime, restorative justice programs hold justice-involved youth accountable for their actions while also encouraging open communication with the victims of their crimes.
A product of the OJJDP Model Programs Guide, Restorative Justice for Juveniles reports that participation in restorative justice programs can help increase victims’ satisfaction in the justice system, but it can also lead them to feel revictimized or pressured to accept an apology. For justice-involved youth, studies found that program outcomes varied by race, gender, prior offending history, and the type of offense committed; the studies generally indicated that participating youth were less likely to reoffend when compared to youth processed traditionally in the juvenile justice system. Youth in restorative justice programs were also more likely to be satisfied with the handling of their cases, to accept accountability for their actions, and to complete restitution agreements.
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