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CJB129

Author Craig Jones
Published June 2009
Report Type Crime and Justice Bulletin No. 129
Subject Diversion; Recidivism / Re-offending; Sentencing; Statistical methods and modelling; Evaluation reports
Keywords Sentencing, restorative justice, conferencing, propensity score matching, recidivism

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Summary

Aim

The aim of the current study was to determine whether offenders who are dealt with by way of a Forum Sentence are less likely to re-offend than those sentenced in the usual way.

Abstract

Forum Sentencing is an adult-focussed restorative justice program that operates in two NSW sites: Liverpool and Tweed. Under the scheme, young adults who meet certain eligibility and suitability criteria can have their matter dealt with by way of a community conference rather than being dealt with in a conventional court setting. The aim of the current study was to determine whether offenders who are dealt with by way of a Forum Sentence are less likely to re-offend than those sentenced in the usual way. Forum Sentencing participants were compared with a matched sample of offenders who met the eligibility criteria for Forum Sentencing but who were sentenced in a conventional court. The two groups were compared on four measures:

(a) the proportion within each group who were reconvicted of a further offence within one year of being sentenced,
(b) the proportion within each group who were convicted for two or more offences within one year of being sentenced,
(c) the time to first reconviction and
(d) whether, on average, the Forum Sentencing group committed less serious offences than the comparison group.

No evidence emerged that Forum Sentencing participants performed better on any of these outcomes.

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