Imagining Restorative Justice beyond Recidivism

Lois Presser, Emily Gaarder, Denise Hesselton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Recidivism reduction is an important objective of restorative justice programs. However, too much attention to recidivism may marginalize basic goals of restorative justice-particularly that of healing harms. In this paper we speculate on the prospects for restorative justice if recidivism rates of participating offenders were not monitored. We foresee both positive and negative consequences. Neglecting recidivism may undermine relationships between restorative justice programs and government agencies, insofar as the latter are chiefly concerned with offender management. Restorative justice also needs support from a public that wants "results." Yet, a restorative justice untethered to the recidivism project could deliver the balanced approach it promises, attending to the needs of victim, offender, and community. We conclude that current arrangements, including institutions and attitudes, sustain restorative justice but also constrain what it can be.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-176
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Offender Rehabilitation
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007


  • Restorative justice
  • program evaluation
  • recidivism
  • rehabilitation


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