Restorative justice in the Australian criminal justice system

Criminal justice Australia
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Abstract: In 2001, Heather Strang prepared a report for the Criminology Research Council summarising restorative justice programs in Australia. Since that time, restorative justice practices have become mainstream in Australian juvenile justice and have been extended for use with adult offenders. The question, ‘does it work?’ is asked of all interventions in the criminal justice field and is most often answered by assessing the impact on reoffending. On this point, the evidence for restorative justice remains mixed. However, the literature is replete with reports of high levels of victim satisfaction and feelings that the process is fair. Further, while some significant issues remain, research conducted to date consistently demonstrates that restorative justice programs work at least as well as formal criminal justice responses. The purpose of this report is twofold; to describe and provide an overview of restorative justice programs in Australia in order to build on Heather Strang’s 2001 review and provide an assessment of current and future issues facing restorative justice practice.

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