U.S. Department of JusticeOffice of Justice ProgramsOffice of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention                 ...
become common in Australia and New            from the process. An individual’s reasons     In theory, the effectiveness o...
Although too limited to provide definitive     The Indianapolis                             Methodanswers, research to dat...
restorative justice treatment group andthe remaining 226 to the “control group.”       Table 1: Racial Composition of the ...
Case Study: A New Approach to Juvenile Offending  An Opportunity To Speak                      younger brother, and that w...
were seen as doing an effective job of elic-   and community service. More than half of                             the to...
control group were slightly more likely to     participants (victims, youth, and parents)                                 ...
percent of youth and 68 percent of par-       parents reported that the program had          analysis was conducted for bo...
Table 4: Rearrest Rates at 6 and 12 Months                                               Total Number of                  ...
cases were handled and much more likely        facilitator is a uniformed police officer or   Valley Police, 1999; Braithw...
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency     Loeber, R., and Farrington, D.P. 2000. Child   Model. Report. Washington, D...
U.S. Department of Justice                              PRESORTED STANDARDOffice of Justice Programs                      ...
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Restorative justice and response


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Restorative justice and response

  1. 1. U.S. Department of JusticeOffice of Justice ProgramsOffice of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention August 2001Restorative Justice A Message From OJJDPConferences as an Early Youth who become involved in the juvenile justice system at an earlyResponse to Young Offenders age are significantly more likely to continue offending than their older counterparts. Indeed, it is estimated that 6 out of every 10 children agesEdmund F. McGarrell 10 to 12 referred to juvenile court will return.A number of highly publicized and dis- Recently reported findings of the Officeturbing school shootings and homicides of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Pre- The findings of OJJDP’s Study Groupin several communities across the United vention’s (OJJDP’s) Study Group on Very on Very Young Offenders confirm theStates have focused the attention of the Young Offenders confirm the seriousness significant implications of early of-public and policymakers on the issues of early offending behavior. Study Group fending. The risk of becoming a seri- ous offender, for example, is two toof youth violence and school safety. Al- researchers report, for example, that the three times higher for child delin-though important, these issues tend to risk of becoming a more serious offender quents ages 7 to 12 than for youthdivert juvenile justice officials’ attention is two to three times higher for child whose onset of delinquency is later.from a separate problem: delinquency delinquents (those ages 7–12) than forcommitted by very young children. In later onset offenders (Loeber, Farrington, Because very young offenders are1999, U.S. police departments reported and Petechuk, in press).2 Child delin- more likely to reoffend and to pro-218,300 arrests of persons younger than quents also account for a relatively high gress to serious delinquency, effec-age 13.1 The most recent juvenile court proportion of some types of offenses. tive early intervention is crucial. Thisstatistics available indicate that offenders They represent 1 in 3 juvenile arrests for Bulletin features a promising form ofunder the age of 13 account for about arson, 1 in 5 juvenile arrests for vandal- such early intervention: restorative16 percent of all individuals referred to ism, and 1 in 12 juvenile arrests for violent justice conferencing.juvenile courts (Puzzanchera et al., 2000). crime (Loeber and Farrington, 2000). For Early offenders pose special chal-Earlier research has shown that children some young offenders, early involvement lenges, but restorative justice offersentering juvenile court at such a young in status offenses and delinquency is a unique benefits, as the Indianapolisage have a very high risk of continued stepping stone in a pathway to serious, Restorative Justice Conferencingoffending. For example, approximately 60 violent, and chronic offending. Commun- Experiment is demonstrating. Notpercent of youth ages 10–12 who are re- ities should not ignore the delinquent only does restorative justice holdferred to juvenile court subsequently acts and problem behaviors of young youth accountable for their actions, itreturn to court. For youth referred to offenders in the hope that they will “grow also affords them the opportunity tojuvenile court a second time, the odds out of it” (Loeber, Farrington, and Pete- repair the harm they have caused—of returning to court again increase to chuk, in press). Because such young involving their families and victims inmore than 80 percent (Snyder and Sick- offenders have a high likelihood of re- the process.mund, 1995). However, because these offending, communities should develop Those seeking to deter young offend-youth typically have not committed a par- and implement effective early interven- ers from further delinquency will ben-ticularly serious or violent offense, and tions for very young offenders. efit from the information provided inbecause children this young usually have these pages. One form of early intervention involvesnot accumulated a long record, they do the use of restorative justice conferences.not generally receive a great deal of atten- Such conferences, sometimes referredtion from juvenile justice officials (Snyder to as “family group conferences,” haveand Sickmund, 1999).
  2. 2. become common in Australia and New from the process. An individual’s reasons In theory, the effectiveness of restorativeZealand and are being used increasingly for committing an offense are regarded as justice conferences is based on the princi-throughout the world (Thames Valley unimportant, and restitution to victims ples of control, deterrence, and “reintegra-Police, 1999). Although some jurisdictions and the community affected by the crime tive shaming.” From a control perspective,use restorative justice conferences for a is not typically a primary concern (Van conferences “control” youth’s involve-variety of offenses, including criminal of- Ness, 1996). Offenders are sometimes re- ment in delinquency by encouraging themfenses, restorative justice conferences quired to perform community service as through socialization to believe in themay be particularly appropriate for very reparation, but often the service is per- moral legitimacy of the law. The controlyoung offenders. Advocates argue that formed for someone not directly affected effect depends on youth’s having strongthe conferences offer a meaningful re- by the offense (Van Ness, 1996). bonds to family and/or conventional insti-sponse to youthful offending without tutions such as school or church (Hirschi, Restorative justice conferences attempt toconsuming significant court resources. 1969). If, as advocates contend, restora- address these shortcomings in the current tive justice conferences provide a learn-In 1996, OJJDP provided funds to the Hud- system. As part of a balanced and restora- ing opportunity in which the harm causedson Institute, a public policy research tive justice model (Bazemore and Umbreit, by offending is directly communicated toorganization in Indianapolis, IN, to evalu- 1994; Office of Juvenile Justice and Delin- youth and youth’s bonds to family mem-ate the use of restorative justice confer- quency Prevention, 1998), restorative jus- bers and community institutions areences for young offenders. This funding tice conferences are designed to hold strengthened, conferences become partwas awarded through OJJDP’s Field- youth accountable, involve and meet the of the socialization process through whichInitiated Research and Evaluation Pro- needs of victims, and build a community youth learn to conform to society’s norms.gram. This Bulletin describes the findings of support around the offending youth. From a deterrence perspective, if confer-of the Hudson Institute’s evaluation. ences hold youth accountable and impose Restorative Justice consequences more effectively than theChallenges Posed by traditional juvenile justice system, then the Conferencing conferences raise the costs of offendingVery Young Offenders In a restorative justice conference, an relative to the benefits and therefore mayMore than 30 years ago, a Presidential offending youth, his or her victim, and deter youth from committing offenses.Commission Report (Lemert, 1967) criti- supporters of both the offender and vic-cized the Nation’s juvenile courts for tim are brought together with a trained John Braithwaite’s (1989) theory of reinte-what it labeled the “1-minute hour.” Ac- facilitator to discuss the incident and the grative shaming builds on the principlescording to the report, a heavy volume of harm it has brought to the victim and the of control and deterrence. Braithwaitecases allowed courts to spend only ap- group of supporters. The conference pro- argues that people are generally deterredproximately 1 minute on juvenile cases vides an opportunity for victims to ex- from committing crime by two informaland prevented them from taking the time plain how they have been harmed and to forms of social control: fear of social dis-needed to carefully assess cases and link question offending youth. Supporters approval and conscience. He contendsjuveniles with necessary services (as the also have an opportunity to describe how that punishments or reparation agree-juvenile courts were intended to do). they have been affected by the incident. ments imposed by family members,Since that time, the volume of juvenile At the end of the conference, the partici- friends, or other individuals importantcases has increased dramatically without pants reach an agreement on how the to an offender are more effective thana corresponding increase in resources. youth can make amends to the victim and those imposed by a legal institution. ForThe rising tide of juvenile arrests that they sign a reparation agreement. The most people, he argues, fear of beingbegan in the mid-1980s and continued agreement typically includes an apology,4 shamed by those they care about is theuntil 1994 (Snyder and Sickmund, 1999) and it often includes a requirement that major deterrent to committing crimehas forced courts into what Lawrence some type of restitution be made to the because the opinions of family andSherman describes as a “triage” system of victim. Sometimes agreements require friends mean more than those of anconserving scarce resources for the most youth to perform community service or unknown criminal justice authority.serious cases.3 Minor juvenile offenders call for other actions such as improving Braithwaite also predicts that restorativeare often given several “bites of the ap- school attendance, completing home- justice conferences may be more effectiveple,” meaning that juvenile cases may be work, or performing chores at home or than traditional courts because confer-dismissed or juveniles may be placed on school. ences include the direct participation ofprobation supervision with overworked supporters of both victims and youthfulprobation officers until the offenders have Advocates of restorative justice confer- encing point to its many potential bene- offenders. By including supporters, con-accumulated a long history of arrests or ferences allow youth to be held responsi-have committed a particularly heinous fits. Conferences, for example, are expect- ed to address the emotional needs and ble in the context of a community of care.offense (Bernard, 1992). Advocates of both In such a setting, youth can be held ac-system reform and youth warn that the tangible losses of victims and hold youth accountable for misdeeds more effective- countable for their acts without beingcurrent system fails to hold youth condemned as people (Sherman, 1993).accountable for offenses and sends the ly than the traditional juvenile court sys- tem. Conferences also allow youth to According to reintegrative shaming theo-message that offenses are “no big deal.” rists, this combination of accountability learn how their offending has negativelyAdditional challenges facing the system affected others. Finally, conferences and respect is key to keeping an offenderare the largely passive roles that offend- create a supportive community for within the community (Braithwaite, 1993).ers and their parents often play and the offending youth.fact that victims are typically excluded 2
  3. 3. Although too limited to provide definitive The Indianapolis Methodanswers, research to date supports thepositive effects of restorative justice con- Restorative Justice Program eligibility. Indianapolis justice officials decided to begin using restorativeferences. The first of two formal experi- Experiment justice conferences with young, first-timements that have been conducted involved In 1996, the Hudson Institute, a public offenders. This population was consideredpolice-run conferences in Bethlehem, PA. policy research organization in Indianap- the most appropriate both because suchThat experiment found high levels of vic- olis, IN, began working with the Indianap- youth were not seen as posing an immedi-tim satisfaction and some evidence of olis police department, sheriff’s depart- ate risk to the community and becausereduced reoffending for person offenses ment, juvenile court, prosecutor’s office, officials recognized the need to identifybut not property offenses (McCold and and mayor on a project involving the use more effective early interventions forWachtel, 1998). The second, the Reinte- of Australian-style restorative justice these youth. The research team hopedgrative Shaming Experiments (RISE), also conferences as an alternative response that conferences might provide a morereported high levels of victim satisfaction to juvenile offending. Encouraged by re- effective tool to prevent young, first-timeand showed positive changes in the atti- search from other jurisdictions—yet seek- offenders from becoming deeply en-tudes of offenders (Strang et al., 1999). ing clearer answers about the effects of trenched in delinquent behaviors.The impact of restorative justice confer- conferences—Juvenile Court Judge Jamesences on future offending remains under Payne and Marion County Prosecutor Consequently, to be eligible for the firstinvestigation.5 Scott Newman agreed to work with the phase of the Indianapolis experiment, an Hudson Institute’s research team to offender had to meet the following criteria:The promise of the initial findings fromresearch on restorative justice confer- implement an experimental design. The x Be no older than 14 years of age.ences, coupled with frustration over then- experiment was initiated in September 1997, and this Bulletin presents what the x Be a first-time offender (i.e., have noexisting interventions for very young of- research team refers to as the “Stage prior adjudications).fenders, led Indianapolis juvenile justiceofficials to consider an experimental pilot One” results of the ongoing experiment. x Have committed a nonserious, non-project. violent offense. x Have no other pending charges. x Admit responsibility for the offense.6 With the exception of the age criterion, Case Study: Clearing Up an Offender’s Misunderstanding these requirements are essentially the David had been arrested for vandaliz- agreement. The conference ended same as those that apply to juvenile court ing a school bathroom and causing with David apologizing to the teacher diversion programs. If deemed eligible for considerable damage. During the and with David, his mother, and the such a program, an offender is diverted restorative justice conference, David school officials agreeing that David from court and charges are not filed, was quiet and seemed unrepentant. would attend counseling. As a final pending his or her successful completion The conference dragged on without condition to the agreement, David of the assigned diversion program. much progress. Finally, David spoke agreed to be responsible for carrying up. He explained that the reason he notes back and forth between his Random assignment procedure. Formal had been so mad on the day of the mother and his teacher to ensure on- implementation of the Restorative Jus- incident was that his teacher not only going communication. tice Conferencing Experiment began on had taken away his bag of potato September 1, 1997. Court intake officers chips but had then eaten the chips in Without the active involvement of screened youth for eligibility. Eligible front of the class, which David inter- David’s teacher in the conference, it youth were selected for the program preted as an attempt to humiliate him. seems unlikely that the reason for his through a random assignment procedure. One of the conference participants anger would have been discovered. Specifically, when the intake officer deter- was the teacher who had been in- Although a forum other than a restora- mined that a juvenile offender met the volved in the classroom incident. The tive justice conference might have program’s eligibility criteria, he or she teacher said that David was wrong— held David accountable for his actions, drew an envelope from a stack prepared the chips she had eaten were from he probably would have remained bit- ter and continued to feel that he had by the research team. Each envelope in her own lunch, and David’s chips the stack contained one of two possible remained unopened in her desk. She been treated unfairly—first by the teacher in the classroom and then by responses: “yes” or “no.” If the intake offi- explained to David that while it was cer selected a “yes,” the youth was as- appropriate for her to take the chips those who held him responsible for the damage he had caused. Including signed to the restorative justice program away from a student during class, she and the case was turned over to the coun- would never open the bag and eat David and his teacher in the confer- ence and providing an opportunity for ty coordinator. A “no” selection indicated them herself. With this information, dialog had several benefits: David normal processing, and the youth was as- David’s demeanor changed immedi- ately, the atmosphere in the confer- gained insight into the teacher’s signed to 1 of 23 other diversion programs. ence shifted significantly, and the actions, the group came to understand David’s behavior, and David had the Sample characteristics. From September 1, group was then able to move forward 1997, to September 30, 1999, 458 youthful and reach a successful reparation opportunity to make amends to those harmed by his actions. offenders participated in the Indianapolis Restorative Justice Conferencing Experi- ment. Of these, 232 were assigned to the 3
  4. 4. restorative justice treatment group andthe remaining 226 to the “control group.” Table 1: Racial Composition of the Restorative Justice and Control GroupsTables 1 through 3 provide descriptivecharacteristics of both groups. Restorative Justice Control Group Both Groups Group (n=232) (n=226) (n=458)Table 1, which reports the racial composi-tion of the two groups, shows that the Race Number Percent Number Percent Number Percentcontrol group included slightly more non- Nonwhite* 135 58 143 63 278 61white youth (63 percent) than the restora-tive justice group (58 percent), though White 97 42 83 37 180 39the difference was not statistically signifi-cant. These percentages are consistent Note: The chi-square comparison was not significant, meaning that the observed difference between the treatment and control groups was likely produced by chance.with the racial composition of the generalpopulation of Indianapolis youth adjudi- * Because the groups included only three Hispanics and one “other” categorized respondent, these four respondents were grouped in the nonwhite category. The remaining respondents in the nonwhitecated delinquent in 1998—62 percent of category are African American.whom were nonwhite (Marion SuperiorCourt Probation Department, 1999).The percentages of male and femaleoffenders in the two groups also indicate Table 2: Gender of Youth in the Restorative Justice and Control Groupsthat the sample was representative of thegeneral population of juveniles adjudicat- Restorative Justice Control Group Both Groupsed delinquent in Indianapolis. For exam- Group (n=232) (n=226) (n=458)ple, approximately 65 percent of adjudi- Gender Number Percent Number Percent Number Percentcated juveniles in Marion County in 1998were male, compared with 63 percent of Male 159 68 129 57 288 63those in the experimental sample (confer- Female 73 32 97 43 170 37ence and control group combined) (seetable 2). The restorative justice group, Note: Chi-square significant at ≤0.05, meaning that the difference between the treatment and controlhowever, included more males (68 per- groups was greater than that expected to be produced by chance.cent) than the control group (57 percent).Although in early analyses researcherswere concerned about overrepresentationof males in the restorative justice group, Table 3: Primary Offenses Committed by Restorative Justice and Controlthe relative distribution became more Group Participantseven between the two groups as the sam-ple size increased, suggesting that the Restorative Justice Control Group Both Groupsrandomization process is “smoothing out” Group (n=232) (n=226) (n=458)the initially uneven distribution. Primary Offense Number Percent Number Percent Number PercentThe median age of youth in both groupswas 13.0 years. The age distributions of Conversionyouth in the restorative justice and con- (shoplifting) 84 36 105 46 189 41trol groups were also quite similar. Ap- Battery 59 25 56 25 115 25proximately 32 percent were age 14, just Theft 36 16 22 10 58 13over 26 percent were age 13, and approxi- Criminalmately 40 percent were age 12 or young- mischief 26 11 17 8 43 9er. Previous research has suggested thatthese young age groups have high rates Disorderlyof reoffending (Snyder and Sickmund, conduct 14 6 18 8 32 71995). Trespass 7 3 5 2 12 3 Other 5 2 3 1 8 2Table 3 reports the frequency of primaryoffenses committed by youth in the re- Intimidation 1 0.4 0 0 1 0.2storative justice and control groups. Asindicated in the table, conversion (shop-lifting) was the most common offense, however, are almost equivalent for the researchers using an observational check-followed by battery, theft, and criminal two groups. Battery (assault) charges list; interviews of offending youth, theirmischief. The control group included accounted for one-quarter of youth in parents or guardians, and victims; andslightly more youth whose primary both groups. checks of court records to determineoffense was conversion, whereas the whether participating youth had beenrestorative justice group included more Measures. The study had process and rearrested for subsequent offenses.youth charged with theft. Percentages of outcome measures, including conferenceyouth in the two categories combined, observations conducted by trained 4
  5. 5. Case Study: A New Approach to Juvenile Offending An Opportunity To Speak younger brother, and that was the believed the boys were remorseful and Thirteen-year-old Jason’s face was worst part of all this—losing his broth- thought they had learned from their grim as he looked around at those er’s trust. mistake. attending the restorative justice confer- Rhonda next described the incident, When asked if there was anything else ence and struggled to answer the co- explaining that she heard the two boys she wanted to add to the contract, ordinator’s question. “How were you in the parking lot and ran out to see Rhonda explained that because the involved in this incident?” Quietly, what was happening. “I saw the one speakers were replaced and her car Jason began his story. He and his boy in my car holding the speaker—I had no permanent damage, restitution friend Michael were on their way to yelled at him to stop and he dropped it was not necessary. She suggested, Jason’s house that afternoon and cut and ran.” When asked what she want- however, that the boys perform commu- across the shopping center’s parking ed to receive from the conference, nity service work. Following Rhonda’s lot. The car was there. They could see Rhonda said she wanted to know why suggestion, the conference participants the speakers, and with Michael as the boys had attempted to steal her joined in and traded ideas on what type lookout, Jason crawled in the car and speakers. She also wanted the boys to of work would be appropriate and how began pulling out wires. The owner of understand how she felt and asked many hours would be fair. The boys the car (Rhonda) came out of her of- them how they would feel if someone were asked whether they would agree fice and yelled at them to stop. Jason took their possessions. to community service and whether they dropped the speaker, and he and knew of any work that was needed Michael began running. Later that day, Moving around the circle, the confer- around their neighborhood. Finally, the Jason heard the sheriff’s officer knock ence coordinator asked the boys’ participants agreed that Jason and on his door and talk to Jason’s mother. mothers how the incident had affected Michael would perform 20 hours of After the officer questioned Jason and them. Jason’s mother said that at first service at a community center to earn his friend, the boys were handcuffed she was shocked and had a hard time money to pay their court fees. The co- and taken to the juvenile detention believing her son would be involved ordinator wrote up the contract, and center. in something like this. Jason, she ex- all of the participants signed it, putting plained, has money from an allowance a formal end to the incident. When asked what he was thinking at and doesn’t need to steal anything. the time of the incident, Jason replied, Michael’s mother told the group how “Nothing, just that I saw the speakers disappointed she was that her son had Benefits of the Process and wanted them.” Jason struggled participated in the incident. She had As the conference participants rose to when asked who had been affected by always tried to raise her boys to know leave, Jason and Michael shook hands his actions, telling the group that he the difference between right and with everyone in the group. Although had been affected—by being taken to wrong, and it would take a while to the boys had been held accountable “juvenile.” “What about the owner of restore her trust in Michael. for their behavior, they knew that peo- the car?” asked the coordinator. “Well, ple still cared about them and had I guess because she got her speakers worked to help them learn from their messed up, she was affected.” Paus- Drafting a Contract mistakes. Having received an apology ing for a moment, Jason looked at his After each participant had an opportu- and learned why the boys did what mother and whispered that she too nity to speak, the contract drafting they did, Rhonda felt that she could had been affected by his behavior. phase of the conference began. The put the incident behind her. The boys’ participants discussed and outlined parents had a chance to express how Jason’s friend Michael gave his ac- steps the boys needed to take to make count of what happened, admitting they felt about their sons’ actions, they things right. The coordinator asked the received support from the group, and that he wasn’t thinking at the time and boys if they had anything they wanted now knows he made a big mistake. they helped point their children back in to say to the victim. Each made a sin- the right direction. The person most disappointed in cere apology for trying to steal Rhon- Michael, he explained, was his da’s speakers. Rhonda said that sheResults Between September 1, 1997, and Septem- Role of conference coordinator. Generally,Observations of conferences. In observ- ber 30, 1999, 182 conferences were con- conference coordinators followed theing restorative justice conferences, re- ducted. Of these, 157 conferences (86 per- principles of restorative justice confer-searchers examined the length of the cent) were observed by 1 of 15 trained encing. Observers noted that coordina-proceeding; the role of the conference observers. tors maintained a distinction between thecoordinator; the involvement of the of- offending youth and his or her behavior Length of proceeding. Restorative justicefender, youth supporter(s), victim(s), (i.e., treating him or her as a valued mem- conferences lasted an average of 43 min-and victim supporter(s); expressions of ber of the community while condemning utes. The reintegration ceremony, duringshame, apology, and acceptance of re- the act). Coordinators also focused the which conference participants mingledsponsibility by the offender; and elements discussion on the incident and rarely lec- informally and shared refreshments, aver-included in the reparation agreement. tured the offending youth. Coordinators aged 10 minutes from the close of the conference. 5
  6. 6. were seen as doing an effective job of elic- and community service. More than half of the total sample of conference and con-iting the involvement of all conference the reparation agreements included still trol group cases.7 Thus, the results fromparticipants. other elements (typically activities that the interviews come principally from the group had tailored to the specific cir- cases occurring during late 1998 andInvolvement of offender, victim, and sup- cumstances involved). Examples included 1999. Given the small sample sizes, theporters. Observers reported that all con- imposing a nightly curfew and requiring researchers report descriptive findingsference participants tended to display that the youth improve his or her grades without assessing the statistical signifi-respect toward the offending youth. In a and school attendance or participate in cance of the findings. More detailedlarge majority of conferences, the offend- afterschool programs. assessments will be included in theing youth also was seen as conveying second stage of the project.respect toward the victim. In approx- Interviews of conference participants.imately 22 percent of conferences, ob- A significant part of the Indianapolis re- Satisfaction. When respondents wereservers did not believe the offending storative justice study was assessing how asked how satisfied they were with theyouth had been respectful of the victim. victims, offenders, and supporters felt way their cases were handled, a signifi- about restorative justice conferencing as cant difference emerged between vic-In nearly all conferences, group partici- an alternative to traditional court-ordered tims in the control group and victims inpants expressed disapproval of the of- programs. The goal was to collect data on the conference group. More than 90 per-fense. In more than 80 percent of the con- participants’ attitudes and beliefs about cent of victims in the conference groupferences, observers reported that the how their cases were handled and on “strongly agreed” or “agreed” that theyyouth had apologized to his or her victim, their sense of justice. were satisfied, compared with 68 percentand in half of the conferences, the youth of victims in the control group (see figureapologized to his or her own supporters. Initially, the Hudson Institute encountered 1). Satisfaction levels of youth and par-Observers also noted that most offending delays in implementing the interview pro- ents in both groups were similar. Overall,youth expressed remorse (76 percent) and cedures. Consequently, the sample size both groups expressed high levels of sat-understood the injury or harm they had for the interviews is smaller than that of isfaction, but youth and parents in thecaused (66 percent). Although observerscould not tell with certainty whether a vic-tim and other group participants had for-given an offender, observers reported that Figure 1: Reported Levels of Satisfactionmore than 80 percent of the conferencesappeared to include the victim and thegroup forgiving the offending youth. In Program is a goodthree-quarters of the conferences, the ob- way to addressserver reported a strong sense of re- certain types ofintegration at the conference close. juvenile crime Indicators of SatisfactionIn all of the conferences, every partici-pant signed the reparation agreement. Would recommendVictims appeared satisfied in more than discontinuing80 percent of the conferences, and ob- program*servers described 77 percent of the con-ferences as positive. Observers also re-ported that in more than 80 percent of Would recommendthe conferences, a volunteer was appoint- program to a friended to hold the youth accountable to theterms of the reparation agreement. Thatis, rather than have a court official moni-tor the agreement, the group designated Satisfied withsomeone from the community of support the way caseto hold the youth accountable. This per- was handledson was then contacted by the MarionCounty Restorative Justice Coordinator toverify the youth’s completion of the 0 20 40 60 80 100agreement. PercentageElements of reparation agreement. Apologywas the most common element included Control group parents Control group youth Control group victimsin reparation agreements (62 percent). To Conference group Conference group Conference groupsome extent, however, this percentage parents youth victimsunderrepresents the frequency of apolo-gies. Because many conferences had Note: For the first, second, and fourth indicators, the figure reflects the percentage of respon-already included an apology, it may not dents who “agreed” or “strongly agreed” with the statement. For the third, the figure shows thehave been written into the formal agree- percentage who responded “yes.”ment. Other common elements included * No conference group victims recommended discontinuing the program.monetary restitution, personal service, 6
  7. 7. control group were slightly more likely to participants (victims, youth, and parents) the conference group (97 percent) agreedexpress satisfaction. This difference may in the treatment and control groups in they had been involved, compared withreflect the extra demands (e.g., time, terms of perceptions of respect (see 38 percent of victims in the control group.accountability) that conferences place on figure 2). Offending youth in the conference groupyouth and parents. were also much more likely than those in None of the victims in the conference the control group to feel they had beenIn measuring participant satisfaction, the group reported feeling pushed around. involved (84 percent versus 47 percent).study also examined whether participants However, approximately 20 percent of Nearly 80 percent of parents in the con-would recommend the program to a friend youth and 15 percent of parents in the ference group agreed they had been in-involved in a similar situation. Again, the conference group felt they had been volved, compared with 40 percent of par-greatest difference between the control pushed around. These percentages are ents in the control group (see figure 2).and conference groups was for victims. lower than those reported by youth andNearly all victims involved in conferences parents in the control group (44 and 38 Participants in the conference group were(98 percent) said that they would recom- percent, respectively).8 also more likely to report having had anmend the approach, compared with 24 opportunity to express their views. For The study found differences in the twopercent of victims in the control group. example, 95 percent of victims in the con- groups’ feelings of having been involvedOffending youth in the conference group ference group agreed they had such an in the process. Restorative justice confer-were also more likely to recommend the opportunity, compared with 56 percent of ences are built on the principle that af-approach (85 percent, compared with 38 victims in the control group. Similarly, 86 fected parties should participate in thepercent of youth in the control group). percent of offending youth and 90 per- process, and results indicate that thisThe study found no significant difference cent of parents in the conference group principle is being achieved in the Indi-between parents in the two groups for agreed they had the opportunity to anapolis experiment. Nearly all victims inthis item (see figure 1). express their views, compared with 55Another indication of participants’ satis-faction is whether they would recommenddiscontinuing the program. Most partici- Figure 2: Reported Perceptions of Effectiveness, Fairness,pants did not recommend stopping the Involvement, and Respectconferences or the control group pro-grams. Conference participants, however,were most likely to endorse continuation Program helpedof the conferencing program. For exam- solve problemsple, no victims in the conference group Indicators of Effectiveness, Fairness,recommended discontinuation. Just overone-fifth of victims in the control group, Involvement, and Respecthowever, agreed that the program should Outcome was fairbe stopped. Similarly, 19 percent of youthin the conference group recommendeddiscontinuing the program (comparedwith 36 percent of those in the control Had opportunitygroup), and 17 percent of conference par- to express viewsents recommended discontinuation (com-pared with 25 percent of control groupparents) (see figure 1). Felt involvedThe final indicator of participant satisfac-tion examined was whether participantsbelieved the program was a “good” wayto address certain kinds of juvenile crime. Felt treatedHere, both conferences and other court with respectprograms received strong endorsements.For victims and parents, the study foundlittle difference between conference and 0 20 40 60 80 100control group participants. Youth in thecontrol group were more likely than those Percentagein the conference group (85 percent ver-sus 71 percent) to agree that the program Control group parents Control group youth Control group victimsthey participated in was a good one (see Conference group Conference group Conference groupfigure 1). parents youth victimsPerceptions of respect and involvement. Note: For the third, fourth, and fifth indicators, the figure reflects the percentage of respondentsParticipants in both conference and con- who “agreed” or “strongly agreed” with the statement. For the first, the figure shows the percent-trol group programs felt they had been age who “definitely” or “somewhat” agreed with the statement. For the second, the figure indi-treated with respect. The study found cates the percentage who responded “yes.”no significant differences between 7
  8. 8. percent of youth and 68 percent of par- parents reported that the program had analysis was conducted for both groups atents in the control group (see figure 2). helped to solve problems, compared with 6- and 12-month intervals.) 57 percent of control group youth and 72Perception of outcomes. A large majority Program completion. Youth participating percent of control group parents (seeof participants in both the conference in restorative justice conferences demon- figure 2).group and the control group believed the strated a significantly higher completionoutcome of their case was fair (see fig- Analysis of program completion data rate (82.6 percent) than youth in the con-ure 2). Victims in the conference group and rearrest records. The results de- trol group, who were assigned to otherwere more likely than their control group scribed thus far indicate that restorative diversion programs (57.7 percent). Thecounterparts to describe the outcome as conferences were implemented in a fash- majority of the 29 youth in the conferencelenient (36 percent and 14 percent, re- ion consistent with the philosophy and group who failed to complete the programspectively). Conference group youth were principles of restorative justice, that they were rearrested before attending the con-slightly less likely than control group were more effective than many other ference. In contrast, most of the 71 con-youth to describe the outcome as lenient, court programs in addressing victim trol group youth who failed to completewhereas conference group parents were needs, and that both parents and offend- their assigned programs failed because ofsomewhat more likely than control group ing youth felt very much involved in the juvenile waiver from the program. In suchparents to describe the outcome as process. For many policymakers, however, cases, juvenile court staff closed the caselenient. the fundamental issue is the program’s without requiring the youth to complete impact on future offending. To address the assigned program.Participants in the conference group were this issue, the study compared programmore likely than those in the control group Six-month rearrest rates. Table 4 shows completion data and recidivism rates ofto report that the program had helped to 6-month rearrest rates for all youth who restorative justice conference participantssolve problems. More than three-quarters have reached the 6-month stage. As the with those of youth in the control group.9of victims in the conference group reported (Recidivism was defined as a rearrest after rates for the full sample reflect, the re-this benefit, compared with one-half of the initial arrest that brought the youth to storative conference group included fewerthose in the control group. More than 80 the juvenile justice system, and recidivism recidivists than the control group by apercent of conference group youth and margin of 13.5 percent. This statistically significant difference represents a 40- percent reduction in rates of rearrest.10 Case Study: Better Addressing the Needs of Victims (The reduction was calculated by dividing the difference between the control and When setting up the restorative justice After Richard and Sue described the the treatment group rates by the control conference, the coordinator talked incident, other participants had an group rate: (33.9–20.4)/33.9=39.8.) with 17-year-old Richard about the opportunity to speak. Gary, a friend purpose of the meeting. Richard of Sue’s attending the conference as Researchers also conducted an analysis admitted that he had broken into his a victim supporter, explained how limited to youth who had successfully neighbor Sue’s car and taken her Richard’s behavior had affected Sue. completed a treatment (either the restora- tape player and several other items. One of Richard’s neighbors told the tive conference program or one of the Richard agreed to participate in the group that she had always trusted control group diversion programs). Be- conference and indicated a willing- Richard (e.g., allowing him to work in cause, as noted above, youth in the con- ness to make amends. her yard), but now her trust in him had ference group were significantly more like- been broken and she wasn’t sure how ly to complete their program than youth On the day of the conference, howev- she felt about Richard. Richard’s mom in the control group (many of whom were er, Richard’s attitude seemed to walk told the group that she hadn’t raised waived out of their programs), the portion into the room in front of him, and the her son to steal from others but didn’t other participants sensed that the of high-risk youth remaining among pro- know how to help him change. gram completers presumably was higher conference might not go as expected. Sue, the car’s owner, nonetheless Once each participant had spoken, a for the conference group than the control wanted to proceed. contract was written. Under the terms group. In other words, the higher dropout of the contract, Richard agreed to pay rate for youth in the control group likely When the coordinator questioned for damage to Sue’s car and replace resulted in a group of lower risk youth Richard about the incident, Richard her personal items. After Richard left among those who actually completed the skirted the issue of his responsibility the conference, Sue commented that program. Thus, limiting the recidivism and did not appreciate that so many she didn’t know if she would ever see analysis to program completers provides people had attended the conference the restitution payment. She assured a conservative estimate of the conference to help give him a second chance. her friends and the conference coordi- program’s effectiveness. This analysis When it was Sue’s turn to speak, she nator, however, that the conference also found a significant difference in re- described how she had felt when she had been worth it to her. The most discovered someone had broken into arrest rates for conference and control important part, she explained, was the groups: 12.3 percent and 22.7 percent, her car and stolen her personal prop- opportunity to tell Richard face-to-face erty. Looking directly at Richard, Sue respectively. This statistically significant how he had hurt her—that he had difference represents a 46-percent reduc- asked him why he had chosen her destroyed the trust that she had in car. After all, she thought they had tion in rates of rearrest.11 him, disrupted her sense of safety, been friends. and generally made her life miserable Twelve-month rearrest rates. Table 4 shows for a while. 12-month rearrest rates for all youth who 8
  9. 9. Table 4: Rearrest Rates at 6 and 12 Months Total Number of Youth Who Were Youth in Sample Rearrested (%) Restorative Restorative Followup Interval Conference Control Conference Control p Value 6 months Full sample* 167 168 20.4 33.9 0.005 Participants who completed program 138 97 12.3 22.7 0.036 12 months Full sample* 156 156 30.1 42.3 0.025 Participants who completed program 125 93 23.2 29.0 0.330Note: A p value of ≤ 0.05 indicates that chi-square is statistically significant, meaning that the difference between the treatment and control groups wasgreater than that expected to be produced by chance.* The smaller sample sizes reported in this table reflect the fact that at the time of the analysis, not all of the study group youth had reached the 6- and12-month followup stages. These cases are being tracked in the ongoing study.have reached the 12-month stage. Of the Rearrest rates by offense, sex, and race. One of the basic findings of the experi-full sample of youth participating in the Researchers conducted limited analyses ment described in this Bulletin is thatrestorative conference program, 30.1 of 6-month rearrest rates for selected sub- restorative justice conferences can bepercent had been rearrested within 12 groups of offenders.14 Youth who commit- successfully implemented in an urban U.S.months, compared with 42.3 percent of ted offenses against property had lower setting. More than 80 percent of youthyouth in the control group. This statisti- rearrest rates than youth who committed who were referred to a conference attend-cally significant difference represents a offenses against persons, and this differ- ed the conference and completed the29-percent reduction in recidivism.12 ence was comparable for conference and terms of their reparation agreement. For control group youth. Both males and fe- Indianapolis, this rate compares veryWhen researchers examined rearrest males in the conference group experi- favorably with that of other court-relatedrates at 12 months for only those youth enced lower rearrest rates than their diversion programs.who had successfully completed a pro- counterparts in the control groups; thegram, they found a pattern that was con- Trained observers reported that confer- difference was greater for females thansistent with their other results, but the ences in Indianapolis appeared to incor- for males. There were no racial differ-difference in rearrest rates for the confer- porate restorative justice principles such ences in rearrest rates for conference andence and control groups did not achieve as inclusion of affected parties, respect control group youth, and the overall re-statistical significance. Specifically, 23.2 for all participants, and emphasis on duction in rearrest rates found for con-percent of youth who successfully com- problem solving. Victims received apolo- ference group youth was the same forpleted the restorative conference pro- gies, and reparation agreements includ- whites and nonwhites. These findings,gram had been rearrested at 12 months, ed other mutually agreed-upon actions. although preliminary, suggest that thecompared with 29 percent of youth who These characteristics translated into high effects of conferences appear consistentsuccessfully completed another diversion levels of satisfaction among victims. for youth across groups based on offense,program. This represents a 20-percent sex, and race. These results should be Interesting patterns emerge in this study’sreduction in rearrest rates, which is not considered preliminary, however, until interview data. Overall, the data indicatestatistically significant. further analyses based on larger sample reasonably high levels of satisfactionThe lack of statistical significance proba- sizes can verify findings. among participants in both conferencesbly is attributable to two factors: (1) im- and other court-ordered diversion pro-plementation problems in the earliest grams (i.e., control group programs).phase of the experiment, which frequent- Conclusion Thus, the Indianapolis experiment doesly caused delays in scheduling confer- Recent years have witnessed consider- not involve a comparison of restorativeences; and (2) the small number of pro- able interest in restorative justice ap- justice programs and court-ordered pro-gram completers, particularly in the proaches in general and conferences in grams that are perceived as failing.control group, included in the 12-month particular. The current study and earlieranalysis. The Hudson Institute continues research provide support for continued The interview data suggest that the con-to monitor these findings to determine development of the restorative justice ference approach makes a positive differ-whether 12-month rearrest differences for conference approach and experimenta- ence for victims. When compared withprogram completers reach statistical sig- tion with its use. victims participating in other diversionnificance when the sample size is larger.13 programs, victims in the conference pro- gram were more satisfied with how their 9
  10. 10. cases were handled and much more likely facilitator is a uniformed police officer or Valley Police, 1999; Braithwaite, 1999;to recommend the program to a friend. a civilian. Finally, the Hudson Institute Moore and O’Connell, 1994.Victims in the conference program also hopes to extend its experiment to a broad-felt they were treated with respect. er range of offenses and to youth with 6. Restorative justice conferences areConsistent with the principles of restora- prior court experience, thereby allowing not fact-finding hearings. If a youth chal-tive justice, victims participating in the Institute to measure the extent to lenges the allegations, the matter shouldconferences were much more likely than which these promising initial results apply proceed to court. This criterion seeks tothose participating in other programs to to more serious offenders. The Institute prevent the “revictimization” of a victimreport that they were involved in the also perceives a clear need to extend the that could occur if the alleged offenderprocess and that they had the opportu- research to the use of conferences with failed to take responsibility for the act.nity to express their views. older youth. 7. The sample size for the interviews wasThe conference approach also appears to Consistent with earlier research, the find- as follows: victims in conference group,make a difference for parents and youth. ings of the Indianapolis study suggest n=42; victims in control group, n=50;Although responses to some interview that restorative justice conferences suc- youth in conference group, n=52; youthquestions revealed no differences between cessfully address the needs of many vic- in control group, n=47; parents in confer-those who participated in conferences tims of offenses committed by youth. In ence group, n=52; and parents in controland those who participated in other diver- addition, findings show that conferences group, n=47.sion programs, responses to questions are a promising early intervention for 8. Because control group victims were notrelating to the core principles of restora- young, first-time juvenile offenders. Given asked if they felt they had been pushedtive justice revealed significant differ- the high rate of reoffending among very around, this measure of perceived in-ences. For example, youth and parents young children who enter juvenile court, volvement and respect is not included inwho participated in conferences were these findings are encouraging and sup- figure 2.more likely than control group partici- port the need for continued experimenta-pants to feel they were involved, had a tion with and assessment of the restora- 9. At the time of the comparison, program“say in the matter,” and had problems tive justice conference approach. completion data were available for onlysolved. 167 youth in the restorative conference group and 168 youth in the control group.Study results relating to reoffending are Endnotes 10. Chi-square statistically significant atsimilarly promising. In comparisons forthe total sample and for youth who suc- 1. (H.N. Snyder, personal communication, ≤0.01. This level of significance indicates 2000.) Dr. Snyder provided these statis- that a difference of the observed magni-cessfully completed their diversion pro- tics, based on his analysis of 1999 arrest tude would only be expected to occur ingram, youth who attended conferences data from the Federal Bureau of Investi- 1 out of 100 samples.were significantly less likely than youth gation, to the Office of Juvenile Justicewho attended other diversion programs 11. Chi-square statistically significant at and Delinquency Prevention.to be rearrested during the 6 months after ≤0.05.the incident that initially brought them to 2. As used in this Bulletin, the term “childthe attention of the court. Similar findings delinquents” refers to juveniles between 12. Chi-square statistically significant atwere observed at 12 months for the total the ages of 7 and 12 who have committed ≤0.025.sample; 12-month findings for program delinquent acts, as defined by criminal 13. Additionally, in later stages of the proj-completers were limited by small sample law. This group of juveniles is the focus ect, researchers will consider issues suchsizes and were less conclusive. of OJJDP’s Study Group on Very Young as the length of time elapsing between Offenders. program completion and rearrest and theIn subsequent stages of this project,researchers will seek to confirm initial 3. (L.W. Sherman, personal communica- seriousness of subsequent offending.results with larger samples. Larger sam- tion, 1996.) The author and Professor 14. Analyses by subgroup at this stageples will also allow researchers to ad- Sherman collaborated on a grant proposal of the study are limited because sampledress theoretical questions by relating in the early stages of this project, and sizes at this stage become very smallfindings from reoffending rates to inter- Sherman’s thinking is reflected in this when conference and control groups areviews of youth, parents, and victims. For Bulletin. further divided by characteristics such asexample, such questions may address 4. A restorative justice program, however, offense, sex, and race. In the second stagewhether it is the deterrent effect of in- should not force an offender to apologize of the project, when sample sizes are larg-creased accountability, the reduced stig- to his or her victim. Nor should the vic- er, researchers will carefully considermatization, or a combination of the two tim be forced to accept an apology. An whether the restorative conference ap-that is generating decreases in offending offender’s apology should be sincere; it proach has different effects on different(Braithwaite, 1989). In addition, larger should not be viewed as a “quick fix” for categories of youth.samples will allow a more thorough exami-nation of results for various subgroups of the offender.offenders (e.g., those based on sex, race, 5. Research other than these two formal Referencesage, and offense type). Researchers plan studies has reported declines in reoffend- Bazemore, G., and Umbreit, M. 1994.to address the issue of the role of police ing and high levels of victim satisfaction. Balanced and Restorative Justice. Sum-as conference facilitators, including the This research, however, was not based on mary. Washington, DC: U.S. Departmentrelated question of whether it makes a rigorous research designs. See Thames of Justice, Office of Justice Programs,difference for victims or offenders if the 10
  11. 11. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Loeber, R., and Farrington, D.P. 2000. Child Model. Report. Washington, DC: U.S.Prevention. Delinquents: Development, Intervention, Department of Justice, Office of Justice and Service Needs. Thousand Oaks, CA: Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice andBernard, T.J. 1992. The Cycle of Juvenile Sage Publications, Inc. Delinquency Prevention.Justice. Cambridge, England: CambridgeUniversity Press. Loeber, R., Farrington, D.P., and Pete- Puzzanchera, C., Stahl, A.L., Finnegan, chuk, D. In press. Child Delinquency: T.A., Snyder, H.N., Poole, R.S., and Tierney,Braithwaite, J. 1989. Crime, Shame, and Intervention and Prevention. Bulletin. N. 2000. Juvenile Court Statistics 1997.Reintegration. Cambridge, England: Cam- Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Jus-bridge University Press. Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office tice, Office of Justice Programs, Office ofBraithwaite, J. 1993. Juvenile offending: of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Juvenile Justice and DelinquencyNew theory and practice. In National Prevention. Prevention.Conference on Juvenile Justice, Conference Marion Superior Court Probation De- Sherman, L.W. 1993. Defiance, deterrence,Proceedings No. 22, edited by L. Atkinson partment. 1999. Marion County Juvenile and irrelevance: A theory of the criminaland S. Gerull. Canberra, Australia: Aus- Probation Annual Report. Indianapolis, IN: sanction. Journal of Research in Crime andtralian Institute of Criminology, pp. 35–42. Marion Superior Court Probation Delinquency 30:445–473.Braithwaite, J. 1999. Restorative justice: Department. Snyder, H.N., and Sickmund, M. 1995. Ju-Assessing optimistic and pessimistic McCold, P., and Wachtel, B. 1998. Restor- venile Offenders and Victims: A Nationalaccounts. In Crime and Justice: A Review ative Policing Experiment: The Bethlehem Report. Pittsburgh, PA: National Centerof Research, edited by M. Tonry. Chicago, Pennsylvania Police Family Group Con- for Juvenile Justice.IL: University of Chicago Press, pp. 1–127. ferencing Project. Pipersville, PA: Commu- nity Service Foundation. Snyder, H.N., and Sickmund, M. 1999.Hirschi, T. 1969. Causes of Delinquency. Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 1999Berkeley, CA: University of California Moore, D., and O’Connell, T. 1994. Family National Report. Report. Washington, DC:Press. conferencing in Wagga Wagga: A commu- U.S. Department of Justice, Office ofLemert, E.M. 1967. The juvenile court— nitarian model of justice. In Family Con- Justice Programs, Office of Juvenilequest and realities. In Task Force Report: ferencing and Juvenile Justice, edited by Justice and Delinquency Prevention,Juvenile Delinquency and Youth Crime, C. Alder and J. Wundersitz. Canberra, chapter 6.edited by the President’s Commission on Australia: Australian Institute of Crimi- nology, pp. 45–74. Strang, H., Barnes, G.C., Braithwaite, J.,Law Enforcement and Administration of and Sherman, L.W. 1999. Experiments inJustice. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Restorative Policing: A Progress ReportPrinting Office, pp. 91–106. Prevention. 1998. Guide for Implementing on the Canberra Reintegrative Shaming the Balanced and Restorative Justice Experiments (RISE). Canberra, Australia: Australian National University. Acknowledgments Thames Valley Police. 1999. Restorative justice. Unpublished manuscript. Thames Edmund F. McGarrell, Ph.D., is Director of the Crime Control Policy Center at Valley, Great Britain: Thames Valley Police the Hudson Institute and an Associate Professor in the Department of Criminal Department. Justice at Indiana University, Bloomington. Research for the Indianapolis Re- storative Justice Conferencing Experiment is supported by OJJDP and grants Van Ness, D. 1996. Restorative justice and from the Lilly Endowment, Donner Foundation, Smith Richardson Foundation, international human rights. In Restorative and Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. Justice: International Perspectives, edited by B. Galaway and J. Hudson. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice Press, pp. 17–35. Share With Your Colleagues This Bulletin was prepared under grant num- ber 96–JN–FX–0007 from the Office of Juvenile Unless otherwise noted, OJJDP publications are not copyright protected. We Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. De- encourage you to reproduce this document, share it with your colleagues, and partment of Justice. reprint it in your newsletter or journal. However, if you reprint, please cite OJJDP and the author of this Bulletin. 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