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Criminal Justice


Dianne Williams


Restorative justice (RJ) is an emerging concept of justice in the American penal system that seeks equality for all stakeholders involved. While RJ is vastly under researched--especially concerning RJ and violent offenses--current studies have only focused on determining victims' motivations for participating in RJ. Determining and evaluating offender motivations for participating in RJ remains unexplored. The purpose of this study was to explore the possible motivations of criminal offenders and their willingness to participate in RJ. The social construction framework and the narrative policy framework were employed to understand the social context. A mixed-method approach was used that began with a semistructured interview of 12 ex-offenders and concluded with all the participants completing a brief questionnaire capturing their demographical information. Participants were previously convicted criminal offenders (i.e., 7 nonviolent and 5 violent) who were no longer under the authority of the judiciary system. The semistructured interviews were analyzed qualitatively and identified six motivations: (a) concern for their reputation, (b) understanding the impact of their crime, (c) explanation of actions, (d) making the victim whole, (e) apologizing to the victim, and (f) apathy towards the victim. MANOVA analysis revealed no significance difference between the groups, except with Motive 3 (explanation of actions) and whether the participant had siblings. However, observed power for this analysis varied at low intervals where only 12 participants were involved. Regardless, the results of this study could have a significant impact on positive social change in RJ because the data informs practitioners how to facilitate RJ interventions better, bringing about efficacy with offenders.