A victim-centered approach to justice? Victim satisfaction effects on third-party punishments

Dena Gromet, Tyler Okimoto, Michael Wenzel, John Darley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    26 Citations (Scopus)


    Three studies investigated whether victims' satisfaction with a restorative justice process influenced third-party assignments of punishment. Participants evaluated criminal offenses and victims' reactions to an initial restorative justice conference, and were later asked to indicate their support for additional punishment of the offender. Across the three studies, we found that victim satisfaction (relative to dissatisfaction) attenuates people's desire to seek offender punishment, regardless of offense severity (Study 2) or conflicting reports from a third-party observer (Study 3). This relationship was explained by the informational value of victim satisfaction: Participants inferred that victims felt closure and that offenders experienced value reform, both of which elevated participants' satisfaction with the restorative justice outcome. The informational value communicated by victim satisfaction, and its criminal justice implications, are discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)375-389
    Number of pages15
    JournalLaw and Human Behavior
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


    • punishment
    • restorative justice
    • third party justice concerns
    • victim satisfaction


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