This page lists a number of resources related to restorative justice and policing, developed for the SPI Fall 2013 Quarterly Newsletter by Dr. James R. "Chip" Coldren, Jr., SPI Project Director.
Recommended Reading (with commentary)
Community Policing, Community Justice, and Restorative Justice: Exploring the Links for the Delivery of a Balanced Approach to Public Safety, by Caroline G. Nicholl (Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, 1999).
Caroline Nicholl is a former police chief from the UK (Thames Valley Police) who employed restorative justice practices (primarily victim-offender conferencing: http://youtu.be/IC2aBPISDno) to realize a dramatic reduction in retail theft. In this monograph, she explains the similarities between community policing, the goals of the justice system, and restorative justice, before presenting a new paradigm for policing based on restorative justice principles and practices. This article is available on the SPI website here.
Implementing Balanced and Restorative Justice: A Guide for Law Enforcement Officers, by Jessica Ashley and Phillip Stevenson (Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, 2006).
This is a practical guide for police officers that introduces the principles and practices of restorative justice, suggests several with particular applicability to law enforcement (e.g., youth courts, victim impact panels, peacekeeping circles, community reparative boards), and provides a list of information resources. This article is available on the SPI website here.
Restorative Justice: The Evidence, by Lawrence W. Sherman and Heather Strang (The Smith Institute, 2007).
In this report, Sherman and Strang apply the Campbell Collaboration meta-analysis methodology to a number of restorative justice evaluation studies from the United States and abroad. The direct evaluative comparisons of restorative justice programs to conventional criminal and juvenile justice practices revealed a number of findings supporting the restorative approaches, such as: substantial reductions in re-offending for some, but not all, offenders; reductions in crime victims’ post-traumatic stress symptoms; increased victim satisfaction; reductions in crime victims’ desire for violent retaliation; reduced recidivism; and reduced costs. Interestingly, the authors also note that restorative approaches bring about twice as many offenders to justice as conventional approaches. This article is available on the SPI website here.
Restorative Policing Experiment: The Bethlehem Pennsylvania Police Family Group Conferencing Project, by Paul McCold and Benjamin Wachtel (Community Service Foundation, Pipersville, PA, 1998).
This is one of the first true experiments with restorative justice and policing. The researchers randomly assigned youthful offenders to a restorative justice family group conferencing program or to traditional juvenile justice system processing. This randomized experiment tested a number of different hypotheses related to the process and impact of family group conferencing. While it did not find significant effects regarding changes to police organizational culture, and while it did not attribute reduced recidivism directly to the conferencing program (volunteer participants were pre-disposed to program participation), the study did find lower arrest rates for violent offenders (not for property offenders); significant levels of satisfaction and a sense of fairness among participants (compared to non-participants); and high levels of program completion, victim satisfaction, and offender completion of restorative agreements. This article is available on the SPI website here.
Returning Justice to the Community: The Indianapolis Juvenile Restorative Justice Experiment, by Kay Crawford, Natalie Kroovand, Edmund McGarrell, and Kathleen Olivares (Hudson Institute, 2002).
This report describes another randomized experiment, in this instance with a juvenile court restorative justice diversionary program, and it reports findings similar to those reported by McCold and Wachtel—increased victim satisfaction with the justice system, high levels of offender participation and completion of restorative agreements, and lower arrest rates for youth who participated in the program. This article is available on the SPI website here.
Braga, A., D. Hureau, & A. Papachristos. (2012). An Ex Post Facto Evaluation Framework for Place-Based Police Interventions. Evaluation Review 35(6), pp. 592-626.
Braga, A., E. Davis, and M. White. (2012). Boston Massachusetts Smart Policing Initiative: Evaluating a Place-Based Intervention to Reduce Violent Crime. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance.
Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. (2006). Implementing balanced and restorative justice: a guide for police officers. Chicago, IL: ICJIA.
McCold, P., & B. Wachtel. (1998). Restorative Policing Experiment: The Bethlehem Pennsylvania Police Family Group Conferencing Project. Pipersville, PA: Community Service Foundation.
McGarrell, E., K. Olivares, K. Crawford, & N. Kroovand. (2000). Returning Justice to the Community: The Indianapolis Juvenile Restorative Justice Experiment. The Hudson Institute.
Nicholl, C. (1998). Community Policing, Community Justice, and Restorative Justice. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
Ratcliffe, J., E. Groff, C. Haberman, & E. Sorg. (2012). Smart Policing Initiative Final Report. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University.
Ratcliffe, J., E. Groff, C. Haberman, , & E. Sorg, & N. Joyce. (2012). Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Smart Policing Initiative: Testing the Impacts of Differential Police Strategies on Violent Crime Hotspots. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University.
Sherman, L. & H. Strang. (2007). Restorative Justice: The Evidence. The Smith Institute.
Uchida, C., M. Swatt, D. Gamero, J. Lopez, E. Salazar, E. King, R. Maxey, N. Ong, D. Wagner, and M. White. (2012). The Los Angeles Smart Policing Initiative: Reducing Gun Violence through Operation LASER. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance.
White, M., & F. Balkcom. (2012). Glendale, Arizona Smart Policing Initiative: Reducing Convenience Store Theft. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance.