Why Offenders Participate in Restorative Justice

Posted on: 15th, June 2023

Restorative Justice is a voluntary service; both victim and offender have to agree to take part for the process to go ahead. In this blog post, we’ll explore why an offender may choose to participate, the positive impact Restorative Justice has on offenders and how it can help reduce reoffending. 

The offender’s opportunity to apologise 

Many offenders choose to take part in Restorative Justice as they want to apologise for their actions. Harry was homeless and desperate for money when he burgled Lily and Michael’s home, and wanted to apologise for the harm he had caused. A face-to-face, direct conference was held, which Harry described as being uncomfortable to begin with, but effective. He made many apologies which were accepted by the victims, and felt positive that he’d had the opportunity to say sorry. 

The chance to repair harm 

In another burglary case, the offender had stolen items of sentimental value. After talking with Restorative Justice facilitators, he admitted to feeling guilty about this, and offered to help locate some of the stolen property that he had hidden. The victim was thankful to be reunited with the items. The offender’s probation officer shared that the offender still talks about the Restorative Justice process some time after, and found that it helped his self-esteem, giving him determination to change his behaviour. Restorative Justice gave the offender the opportunity to repair some of the harm he had caused. 

Finding a positive outcome for all parties  

Charlie was seriously injured due to dangerous driving by Sam, a first time offender. Sam was extremely remorseful for his actions but hadn’t had the opportunity to express this in court. He wanted to meet with Charlie to apologise and see if there was anything he could do towards some form of reparation. The parties met for a face-to-face conference, where they discussed the impact the incident had on their lives. Both were interested in finding a positive outcome from the situation, so swapped contact details with the intention of potentially holding talks together at schools about road awareness. 

Restorative Justice helps the offender put the crime behind them 

Steve attempted to break into Joanne’s home late one evening, and was involved in a chain of events in the neighbourhood including forced entry, arson and theft of a car. He was keen to have a direct, face-to-face Restorative Justice meeting with Joanne so that he could apologise for what had happened, and explain that he was on drugs at the time but has since come off them completely. He wanted the opportunity to put the incident behind him. The meeting was extremely positive, with Steve and Joanne saying they’d gained everything they had hoped for from the meeting. It helped them both move on from the crime. 

The offender can see the impact of their crimes 

Daniel committed a street robbery on Carl, and contacted the Restorative Justice team after the police informed him that Carl has autism. Daniel wanted to apologise for his actions and make things right. Via a letter to Daniel, Carl shared the impact the crime had on his mental health, explaining that he feels extremely anxious and has struggled to sleep since the robbery. Daniel responded with an explanation and apology, saying, “I’d like you to feel more positive, I’d like you to not be upset”. Restorative Justice provided the chance for Daniel to see the full impact of his crime, as well as the opportunity to apologise. 

Get in touch 

If you think Restorative Justice could be the right option for you, please get in touch.  

Let’s see how Restorative Justice can help you

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Case Studies

A Burglary In Southampton

"When the police told me about Restorative Justice, I was interested straight away and they referred me to the Restorative Justice service.

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A Residential Burglary on the Isle of Wight

Three offenders entered a residential property on the Isle of Wight on numerous occasions during the evening and early morning, searched rooms, and stole property.

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Assault Resulting in ABH

A male had intervened to prevent a domestic assault, and had himself been badly assaulted by the offender, causing ABH injuries.

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Conspiracy to Burgle

This case was referred to our service via the Officer In Charge as the harmer had contacted him wishing to try to apologise to the harmed.

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Indirect Restorative Justice Following Sexual Assault

A victim’s father-in-law sexually assaulted her during a family event.

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Injury By Dangerous Driving

The offender, Sam*, had committed the offence of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

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Neighbours' Dispute

A neighbours’ dispute had been occurring between John*, who owned a house adjoining a public right of way, and Frank*, who was the son of the owner of a plot of land opposite John’s house, for many years.

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Non-Recent Child Sexual Abuse

The offences against Joshua were of a sexual nature and were committed in the 1980s, when Joshua was aged between 10 and 15 years old.

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Residential Burglaries in Hampshire

Watch this video about how Restorative Justice brought peace to a burglary victim.

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Restorative Conversation Following Theft

A restorative conversation took place with a victim following the theft of her pushchair, which was locked with a chain in the hallway of flats.

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Road Rage Assault

The victim had been tailgated by the harmer, who then assaulted him after indicating for the victim to pull into a lay-by.

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Rosalyn's Story

Rosalyn shares her experience of Restorative Justice.

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Theft From An Elderly Couple

An older couple were being looked after by their cousin, who stole over £7,000 from them.

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Threat of Assault

An offender threatened a victim with a baseball bat outside his home.

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Transphobic Comments

A victim received messages via Snapchat that were transphobic in nature and caused distress.

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What People Say About Restorative Justice

The facilitators have been wonderful. I feel stronger than I did. I would really recommend Restorative Justice.

Debbie, victim

I hope that she would understand that I know what I’ve done was wrong and I’ve learnt from my actions.

Ryan, offender

I had my opportunity to discuss the incident and also to meet the offender in person.

Leighton, victim