By Eleanor Bell

The New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics has analysed a program that brings young offenders face-to-face with victims of crime. New research looks like dashing the hopes of those who thought making criminals confront their victims would help stop them reoffending.

The New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics has analysed a program that brings young offenders face-to-face with victims of crime.

It says it makes no difference to the rate at which they go on to commit more crimes.

The bureau's Dr Don Weatherburn says the study looked at almost 1,000 young people who were referred to a Youth Justice Conference.

It compared them to the same number of young people who were dealt with by that state's Children's Court.

Dr Weatherburn says it found young offenders made to face up to their victims will reoffend at the same rate as those who go through the children's court

"The offenders in both groups were matched on a whole range of factors that are important to reoffending and we found no difference at all between the two groups - they were equally likely to reoffend, they were equally likely to commit a more serious or less serious offence," he said.

"They took the same time to reoffend and they committed the same number of reoffences within the limits of chance.

"So it doesn't appear that referring young people to a Youth Justice Conference reduces their risk of reoffending."

In fact, around 65 per cent were reconvicted for another offence within two years.

"We've looked at circle sentencing for Aboriginal offenders for example and found that had no effect. We also looked at forum sentencing, which is another similar program for young offenders, where they sit down with their victims and found no effect," Dr Weatherburn said.

"So this is the third study we've done which has found no effect for this arrangement, where offenders and victims meet."

article continues... http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-15/study-questions-face-to-face-youth-crime-program/3892090

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