Jennifer Wong, Jessica Bouchard, Jason Gravel, Martin Bouchard, and Carlo Morselli have published a new meta-analysis

[1] on the effectiveness of restorative justice with at-risk youth in the latest issue of Criminal Justice and Behavior. Their meta-analysis included more recent studies than previous meta-analyses and added search for studies published in French.

Their results reinforce the repeatedly similar pattern of results from previous meta-analyses, regardless of disparate review methods and inclusion criteria adopted across reviews.
Of only 21 studies that passed Wong et al’s (2016) criteria for methodological quality, 15 found a reduction in recidivism for juveniles, 12 of these a statistically significant reduction. For all 21 data sets combined, the aggregated reduction in reoffending was yet again modest but statistically significant.

2016 has been an encouraging year for new evaluation studies and new meta-analyses that reinforce the conclusions that both restorative justice and responsive regulation may be effective in many contexts, highly effective in some contexts, but also ineffective in some contexts.

Hence I have updated my 2014 paper that was originally presented at Gale Burford’s Vermont conference on Restorative Justice, Responsive Regulation and Complexity to incorporate these new results[2].

This paper also insists that increased compliance with the law is less important than a variety of other outcomes that are also important to consider in deciding whether restorative justice and responsive regulation make for good policy separately or together.

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[1]Wong, Jennifer S, Jessica Bouchard, Jason Gravel, Martin Bouchard, and Carlo Morselli 2016 Can at-risk youth be diverted from crime? A meta-analysis of restorative diversion programs. Criminal Justice and Behavior 43 (10): 1310-1329.

[2]Braithwaite, J. 2016 Restorative Justice and Responsive Regulation: The question of evidence. RegNet Working Paper No. 51, School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet). Also available at SSRN.