How do projects affect rates of reoffending?

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I am responding to the letter (Star, July 10) from Steve Jones, Director of Remedi, critical of my earlier observations regarding the inefficacy of victim-offender mediation.

My criticisms were specifically related to VOM, but Mr Jones devotes his letter to extolling the virtues of restorative justice projects in general, a term seemingly used as an umbrella title covering VOM together with a number of other initiatives unrelated to it. This begs the question why.

For example, he highlights the number of hours devoted to community reparation work by specifically offenders, which I assume to be a reference to an unspecified number who have been sentenced to a period of compulsory unpaid work as punishment, which is being supervised/managed by Remedi instead of the Probation Service. This is nothing to do with VOM.

Similarly, the other activities he highlights also appear to have nothing to do with VOM. The figures he quotes appear to be a total for activities conducted in the five counties and Greater Manchester area that Remedi appear to operate in.

Meanwhile, the Remedi annual report’s Key Achievements for 2013-14, states 1,453 victims of youth crime were contacted to offer restorative justice of an unspecified nature, with 68 per cent of victims of youth crime taking part in an unspecified restorative process of which seemingly 99 per cent of the 68 per cent were satisfied with the process and outcome.

So does one interpret this as 68 per cent (998) of those contacted agreed to take part and 99 per cent of them were satisfied?

This seems a low number given the geographical span that Remedi encompasses. And thereby presents much less patronage than the unqualified use of the 99 per cent Mr Jones emphasises. How many of these “cases” were specifically VOMs is not stated. Thus once again one cannot judge the efficacy of VOM given the lack of objective data.

Furthermore, I cannot recall Mr Jones being an active member of the Sheffield VOM Project while I was there, so I question his ability to comment on my criticisms of the management then.

What is glaringly absent is any indication as to the effect each type of restorative justice project as conducted by Remedi has on the reoffending rate as compared with those offenders who do not “participate” in such schemes.

Michael Parker