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Funding boost for restorative justice services

Justice minister Simon Power has announced that adult restorative justice services will receive a funding boost. File photo / Sarah Ivey
Justice minister Simon Power has announced that adult restorative justice services will receive a funding boost. File photo / Sarah Ivey

Adult restorative justice services are receiving an extra $2 million in funding by the Government, Justice Minister Simon Power announced today.

Restorative justice helped address the harm done to victims, held offenders to account for their crimes, and reduced re-offending, Mr Power said.

"What we've found is this stuff works, that chance of re-offending after doing one of these restorative justice conferences drops back by about 20 per cent.

"It's the first real evaluation that's been able to hook into re-offending rates and we're always keen for things that stop recidivism."

At the moment restorative justice received about $2m a year.

In 2011/2012 and 2012/1013 restorative justice would receive an extra $500,000, and in 2013/2014, and the following years, an extra $1m, Mr Power said.

He said he was not writing off spending more on restorative justice in the future.

"I think that capacity is there at the moment to handle the increases, now we've announced 'look it's been successful' and it's a nice change from stories where these re-offending rates aren't a success."

Maori Party justice spokeswoman Rahui Katene said she welcomed the increase in funding.

"We have always maintained that the cure is in the care.

"Today's investment specifically includes a commitment to increase the number of restorative justice conferences to be held in areas with high Maori populations and high offending."

Rethinking Crime and Punishment director Kim Workman, and joint recipient of the 2005 international prize for restorative justice, said the Government's decision to support restorative justice programmes would be a great boost for those who had supported restorative justice.

A newly published report said offenders who took part in restorative justice conferences in 2009 had a re-offending rate 20 per cent lower than similar offenders who did not take part, she said.

"Hopefully, this announcement will put paid to the Sensible Sentencing Trust's base-less claims that restorative justice doesn't work.

"We have always known that most victims who take part in a restorative justice conference are highly satisfied with the outcome -- now it's official."

- NZPA

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