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Systems Change

Restorative CJS

Why do we need a restorative criminal justice system?

The criminal justice system in England and Wales takes a punitive response to crime. It seeks to punish individuals but does very little to repair harm to victims and reconnect individuals to the community. 

Restorative justice is a voluntary process which brings victims and individuals who have committed a crime into communication to address harmResearch shows it can improve victim satisfaction and wellbeing and reduce reoffendingBut restorative justice is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the wider restorative practice and approaches taking place across the criminal justice system. 

Restorative practice and approaches support people to recognise harm, take responsibility, resolve tension and conflict, and repair relationships. Examples include interventions within prisons to reduce violence and within schools to prevent exclusions and subsequent criminal exploitation of children. 

The CJA identifies opportunities for restorative justice, practice and approaches and advocates for a restorative criminal justice system.  

A restorative meeting

Our recent work:

Restorative Expert Group

Our Restorative Expert Group informs our work  on restorative justice, practice and approachesThe group meets regularly to discuss the barriers to a restorative criminal justice system and identify ways forward.

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Responding restoratively to COVID-19

The first in our Responding Restoratively series, this briefing looks at how restorative justice, practice and approaches have been used to repair harm and alleviate conflict during the pandemic. We also considered how restorative practice and approaches could help society heal as it recovers from the pandemic. 

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A journey of learning, growth and change

In this briefing, we studied how restorative justice is being used in England and Wales, finding a postcode lottery in access to restorative justice. We also looked at the restorative practice taking place across the criminal justice system, as well as the emerging trend of restorative schools, restorative prisons and restorative cities.  

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The cost of an entitlement to restorative justice

In 2016, we calculated the cost of giving every victim in England and Wales the opportunity to engage in restorative justice. Despite the benefits of restorative justice for victims, no such national costing had been done by policy makers.

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