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.