§ Mr. Nigel Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on progress since 1997 on his policy of restorative justice. 
§ Mr. Keith Bradley
The Government recognise the potential of restorative justice to offer a constructive response to crime which benefits victims, offenders and the wider community.
Restorative principles have been at the heart of the recent reforms of the youth justice system. The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 introduced a range of new options for juveniles which provide the opportunity for offenders to face up to the consequences of their crime and make reparation for it. The aim is to involve the community and victims in this process if appropriate. The Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 developed this approach by introducing referral orders whereby youth offender 872W panels operate as community conferences, involving community volunteers and victims, where possible. They agree contracts with the young offender which encourage reparation to the victim or the community and aim to address the causes of the offending behaviour. Referral orders were rolled out nationally on 1 April 2002.
In his review of the Criminal Courts of England and Wales, the Lord Justice Auld recommendedthe development and implementation of a national strategy to ensure consistent, appropriate and effective use of restorative justice techniques across England and Wales.
The Government are now considering its response to this recommendation.