Ministry of Justice data from 2008 to 2013 shows reoffending rates for those who participated in the restorative justice service within 12 months was 15% lower than comparable offenders who did not participate.
Justice Minister Amy Adams says restorative justice is particularly beneficial for young offenders aged 17 to 19. Young offenders who participate are 17% less likely to reoffend, and committed 30% fewer offences per offender.
"Based on these findings, it's estimated the 1638 restorative justice conferences across all age groups held in the 2013/14 financial year led to 620 fewer offences being committed and 359 fewer offences being prosecuted over the following year," says Ms Adams.
She says figures for the 2015 calendar year show the number of cases referred for a restorative justice assessment tripled from around 4000 to just over 12,000, compared to 2014.
The increases follow a change to the Sentencing Act 2002 in December 2014, Ms Adams says, which requires courts to refer eligible cases for an assessment to see whether restorative justice is appropriate.