RJ Research Summaries

Restorative Justice Research Summaries

Three Meta-Analyses Show Positive Outcomes for Restorative Justice Conference Programming

These major studies from the Canada, US, and UK compiled statistical research from more than 90 empirical research studies in 7 countries and found positive impact of restorative justice dialogue in juvenile and criminal cases through VOC/VOM (Victim Offender Conferencing/Victim Offender Mediation) and FGC/RCC (Family Group Conferencing or Restorative Community Conferencing). Overall, the studies concluded that these restorative programs led to:

  • higher satisfaction rates for victims and offenders
  • higher rates of restitution completion
  • lower rates of offender recidivism

To access full PDFs of these studies, click on the links below.

1. Canadian - Latimer, Dowden, Muise Meta-Analysis (2001)

  • 35 studies (27 VOM, 8 FGC)
  • 26 youth, 9 adult
  • Positive impact on v/o satisfaction, restitution completion, and reduced recidivism

2. US - Nugent, Williams, Umbreit Meta-Analysis (2003)

  • Total sample of 9,307 juvenile offenders
  • Sample came from 19 program sites (15 prior studies)
  • 26%  reduction in recidivism

3. UK - Sherman, Strang Meta-Analysis (2007)

Restorative Justice: The Evidence states that there is “Far more evidence on RJ, with positive results, than for most innovations in criminal justice.”

  • Included randomized controlled studies by S/S
  • Reduced recidivism for both violent and property offenders
  • RJ reduced costs when used as a diversion
  • Suggests that RJ may be more effective with adults

Other Significant Studies 

Minnesota Dept. of Corrections (2012) 


Participants in MNCOSA had significantly lower recidivism:

  • 62% lower re-arrest rates
  • 72% lower technical violation rates
  • 84% lower return to prison rates


  • Cost benefit per MNCOSA participant is $11,716
  • MNCOSA produced savings of $363,211

Baltimore, Maryland, Community Conferencing Center

Community-based Non-Profit Servicing Diversion Juvenile Cases

    (from courts, schools, but mostly from police)

  • Population: 637,418 (Black: 63%, White: 32%, Hisp: 3%, Asian:2%
  • Youth in community conferences(CC): 604 (Minority: 558)
  • Agreements reached in CC: 98%
  • Agreements completed in CC: 97%
  • Recidivism data: (CC participants 60% less likely to re-offend)