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In this study, George Mason University conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of quantitative research to examine the effectiveness of restorative justice programs in reducing recidivism and improving other outcomes for offender and victim participants. Restorative justice programs seek to repair relations and end discord between youthful offenders and their victims. These types of programs view crime as a violation of people and relationships. They emphasize offender accountability for wrongdoing, respect for participants, and keeping the victim central throughout the process as a way to repair the relationship between the offender and victim and reduce future delinquent behavior. Practices consistent with this approach, such as restitution, are common in the juvenile justice field, and practitioners who have a more complete understanding of the use and potential impact of these types of programs and practices can apply them more effectively.
This project was funded under the Assessing the Impact of Juvenile Justice Reforms Program, which supported research and evaluations to investigate whether certain juvenile justice policies and practices produce better outcomes for youth, improve public safety, and/or achieve a greater return on taxpayer investments.