Research from Derbyshire, UK posted in the Derby Telegraph confirms what other studies have also found: when done well, restorative justice conferences produce a very high victim satisfaction rate, exceeding both courts and mediation. Below is an excerpt of the article:
MORE than nine out of ten crime victims who saw offenders punished by restorative justice have been left satisfied by the outcome, say police.
A survey by Derbyshire Constabulary, showed 94.8% of those questioned were either fairly or very satisfied with the experience, a figure the force described as "phenomenally high" and an increase on last year's 90.8%.
The survey quizzed a fifth of all the county's crime victims who had used the restorative justice system.
The scheme, which was introduced in Derbyshire in 2009, sees victims decide the punishment the offender should receive for minor crimes. This must be agreed with the offender.
Members of Derbyshire Police Authority were presented with the findings at a meeting at the forces's Ripley headquarters.
Robert Careless, head of police performance management and information, told the meeting: "This is the third survey of its kind since restorative justice was brought in, in Derbyshire in 2009 and involved quite a large sample of victims.
"Fifty-four people and three organisations were surveyed and, out of those, only three expressed any dissatisfaction with the whole experience of restorative justice. That figure is phenomenally high and puts us in the top quarter of forces nationally.
"Ideally, that figure would be zero rather than three but it is still very high in terms of satisfaction."
An example of the system in action saw a 20-year-old Derby man agree to pay for the cost of repairs after smashing three car wing mirrors because he was upset over the death of his aunt.
[Unfortunately, this story is no longer available on line. The original link, now broken, was http://www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/Restorative-justice-backed-95-crime-victims/story-15920407-detail/story.html]