Justice Minister Judith Collins has announced restorative justice services will be expanded and rolled out to all courts in the country.
An additional 2,400 restorative justice conferences – totalling 3,600 in 2014/15 – follow the Government’s $4.4 million investment in adult pre-sentence restorative justice as part of Budget 2013.
Ms Collins says investing in pre-sentence restorative justice will help deliver results, give victims a voice in the justice system and make victims strong.
“We know participation in restorative justice can result in a reduction in the reoffending rate of up to 20 per cent when compared to offenders who did not participate,” Ms Collins says.
“As well as delivering more services in existing centres, restorative justice will now be in courts where it was not previously or readily available, such as Alexandra, Queenstown, Gore, Taihape, Dannevirke, Taumarunui, Huntly, Morrinsville, Whakatane and Wairoa.
“Expanding restorative justice services across New Zealand will help the justice sector meet the Government’s Better Public Services target of further reducing reoffending by 25 per cent by 2017 – already reoffending is down by over 9 per cent.”
Ms Collins says restorative justice is also particularly effective at reducing victimisation and repeat victimisation. The 2011 Victim Satisfaction Survey showed 74 per cent of victims who attended a conference felt better.
The roll-out of new services will start from October 1 following decisions made by the Ministry of Justice as part of an open tender process.
Helping victims and reducing reoffending make the extra money spent on this initiative well worth while.