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Criminal Justice

Extending restorative justice among young adults

A new report by the Restorative Justice Council, launched today, recommends that all victims of crime should be offered restorative justice, regardless of the age of the offender. Currently, restorative justice is less available to the victims of crimes committed by young adults (aged 18-25) than victims of crimes committed by young people aged 17, despite its proven benefits to victims and in helping people turn away from a life of crime.

The report, Restorative Justice for Young Adults: Factoring in Maturity and Facilitating Desistance, which was produced on behalf of the Barrow Cadbury Trust and Transition to Adulthood Alliance, found that lack of maturity among young adults can impact upon the practice of restorative justice, where there is an increased tendency for young adults to have chaotic lifestyles, dependence on family members, low levels of emotional literacy, difficulties in accepting responsibility and a lack of a sense of agency (or belief that they have the potential to do something positive). The report recommends that restorative practitioners are made aware of these challenges and suggests ways in which each can be handled successfully.

Author Ian Marder reviewed the academic literature on desistance in order to suggest six ways in which participation in restorative justice can help young adults put their offending past behind them. This research builds on Ministry of Justice findings that restorative justice reduced the frequency of reoffending among all age groups by 14%.

You can read the report in full at the Restorative Justice Council and see also Maturity, young adults and criminal justice: A literature review, a University of Birmingham Study for the Transition to Adulthood Alliance.