Restorative justice offers a wide range of benefits to both victims and offenders, including improved relationships within a community and reduced recidivism rates. These benefits can lead to increased economic productivity in a community, reduced crime and incarceration, and enhanced public safety.
Benefits for Victims
Through a restorative process, the victim is given a voice and a chance to have their needs addressed. They are asked to identify how their lives were harmed and have the opportunity to make a genuine and meaningful contribution to repair.
This can help victims to feel empowered and confident about themselves, their future, and the justice system. They are also more likely to forgive the offender and not hold resentment towards them.
Similarly, offenders are empowered by the process and are more likely to take responsibility for their actions and change their behaviors. They are also more likely to understand the impact of their crimes on victims and how they can prevent repeat offenses.
Cost savings for Communities
Restorative justice is often used to reduce reoffending, which can save taxpayers money and prevent the loss of property and other assets to crime. In addition, the cost savings can be reinvested in programs that support offenders and their families.
Health benefits for Participants
A 2009 study on the health impacts of restorative justice found that offenders and victims who participated in restorative justice processes reported positive changes in their psychological and physical health from pre-to-post-program. These changes were reflected in measures of health related to sleep, eating, exercise, alcohol and drug use, and psychological issues such as self-esteem, anger, fear and anxiety.