Evaluating Evaluation: An Investigation Into The Purpose And Practice Of Evaluation In Restorative Justice Based Programs
Restorative justice (RJ) theory and practice has grown in the last 30 years, becoming an international movement to re-invent justice. With this growth, many have asked about the effectiveness of RJ alternatives. Researchers, practitioners and participants advocate its benefits, and typically, evaluation supports its continued use. The purpose of this thesis is twofold: to critically review the academic literature examining restorative justice evaluation; and, as an illustrative case study, to evaluate 160 participant feedback surveys completed between 2002 and 2008 from an RJ program, North Shore Restorative Justice Society (NSRJS). Results indicate that the majority of participants were satisfied with the program, felt it met their needs, and was successful. However, critical analysis of the literature, coupled with further analyses within the case study, suggest more work is needed to advance evaluation of restorative justice, including clarifying concepts and measures of success, information sharing, and conducting participatory action research.