The Significance of Identity in Restorative Justice Programming

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The Significance of Identity in Restorative Justice Programming

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This project analyzed administrative data for a local restorative justice program (RJ) in Minneapolis that takes court diversion cases and offers participants a space to repair harm in the community. The original purpose of this study was to evaluate how the racial and gender identities of the programs’ volunteers and referred participants impacts program completion and satisfaction rates for referred participants. However, I only received aggregate data that included demographic information of referred participants along with their completion rates and no data on volunteers of RJ. The sample included 1,700 adult participants that had been enrolled in the RJ program in the fiscal years of 2015-2019. Trends in the data showed that between 2015 and 2019, men made up approximately 72% of the referred participants while women only about 26%. The data also shows that African Americans make up the largest Non-Caucasian population of referred participants. The completion rate data indicates that the percentage of African American referred participants enrolled in the RJ program was higher compared to how many African Americans there are in the city of Minneapolis. While this gap is not as wide as it is in other cities, it still points to the racial disparity within the criminal justice system, which may be a significant cause and manifestation of inequity. It is crucial that more continued research is done on the racial disparity in the criminal justice system which is then reflected in diversion programs, such as restorative justice.


Faculty Advisor: Professor Zha Blong Xiong

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This research was supported by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).

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Sommers, Marie. (2020). The Significance of Identity in Restorative Justice Programming. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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