Restorative Justice Theory Validation

Paul McCold, Interntl Inst. for Restorative Practices

Restorative justice is a process involving the direct stakeholders in determining how best to repair the harm of offending behavior. McCold (2000) proposed a Restorative Practices Typology based on three direct stakeholder groups: victims, offenders and their comunities of care. The degree to which all three are involved in meaningful emotional exchange and decision-making is the degree to which any program can be termed fully restorative. The Restorative Practices Typology asserts that outcomes from partly, mostly and fully restorative practices should be progressively better, on average as they involve more direct stakeholder groups, and that all restorative practices should produce better outcomes than non-restorative practices. Program participant satisfaction and fairness are compared across conferencng and mediation evaluation studies where victims and offenders were surveyed. Results strongly support the categorical and hierarchical relations predicted by the Restorative Practices Typology. Fully restorative programs (conferences) were rated as more satisfying and fair for both victims and offenders than mostly restorative programs (victim-offender mediation) and both conferencing and victim-offender mediation were rated as more satisfying and fair than court.

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Updated 05/20/2006