Impact on reoffending needs to be measured

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This is in response to the letter (Star July 10) from Steve Jones, Director of Remedi, critical of my earlier observations regarding the inefficacy of Victim-Offender Mediation regimens.

I notice that while my criticisms were specifically related to VOM, 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.

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 of those that have been sentenced to a period of compulsory unpaid work as punishment, which is being supervised/managed by Remedi instead of the Probation Service ie nothing to do with VOM.

Similarly, the other activities he highlights also appear to have nothing to do with VOM and 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, of which 99 per cent were satisfied? This seems a low number given the geographical span that Remedi encompasses. And thereby presents a 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.

I cannot recall Mr Jones being an active member of the Sheffield VOM Project while I was there and if this is the case, then I’m not sure how he can comment on my criticisms of the management then.

What is absent is any indication as to the effect each type of Restorative Justice project as conducted by Remedi has on the re-offending rate as compared with those offenders who do not “participate” in such schemes. Surely impact on the reoffending rate should be an important measure of performance.

Michael Parker

Robertshaw Crescent, Deepcar,