Working with Offenders

Restorative Thinking Limited works with Police and Crime Commissioners, Prison and Probation Services to implement and develop restorative ways of working.  Our input ranges from restorative training, coaching and supervision to whole organisational culture change. Our Restorative Intervention Programme, delivered via an annual licensing agreement, introduces offenders/ex-offenders to key life skills in restorative practice (relationship skills; conflict resolution and avoiding conflict; developing positive self-talk; responsibility-taking; emotional literacy; problem solving).  The programme encourages participants to adopt restorative principles and skills on a daily basis, and prepares offenders/ex-offenders to take part in a meaningful restorative conference. Restorative practice can become the explicit set of principles and practice that informs every communication.

In addition, Relationships without Conflict is a restorative domestic abuse perpetrator programme for working with men and women with low/moderate level of risk of harm.

Restorative Thinking:  A Restorative Intervention Programme for Working with Offenders

Rupert Counsellor

This is a restorative practice/justice intervention programme delivered in prisons and probation settings.

Six 1.5 hour sessions, completion rates are high.

Underpinned by Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Developmental Psychology and Solution Focused Therapy (SFT).

Mapped across the Core Curriculum Framework for literacy and employability.

Stand-alone restorative practice intervention, and/or preparation for a restorative conference.



  • Restorative practice informs communication on a day to day basis, leading to coherent relationships.
  • Restorative practice principles and skills lead to a greater understanding of self, and of others (development of empathy).
  • Greater victim satisfaction:  greater take-up of a restorative conference at request of victim/s.
  • Victim empathy.
  • Participants understand the restorative process and the opportunities for involvement in RJ in the criminal justice system (supports the revised ‘Code of Practice for Victims of Crime’, 2015).
  • Able to adopt restorative practices as a key life skill and to apply RP to daily challenges and conflicts.
  • Familiarisation with restorative ‘language’, principles and skills.
  • Able to apply RJ to own offence.
  • Able to go forward (with victim’s consent) to engage in RJ process with the victim/s (conference, mediation).
  • This programme promotes responsibility-taking and improves positive self-talk, leading to changes in attitude and behaviour, improving maturity and life chances and facilitating desistance, supporting a reduction in reoffending.
  • Improves the capacity to change (positivity, resilience, self-talk, responsibility-taking).
  • Facilitates the process of change (constructive development).

Restorative Thinking:  A Restorative Intervention Programme for Working with Offenders provides facilitators with a framework and resources for delivering Restorative Justice and developing restorative practice key life skills with offenders and ex-offenders.  This programme is evidence based (delivered in prison and probation settings since 2012) and has been evaluated by Dr. Elizabeth A. Bates at the Department of Health and Social Care at the University of Cumbria as part of a HMPPS funded restorative practice pilot with Approved Premises; download the full report here.

Delivered with groups or individuals, the programme is flexible enough to meet the needs of different populations and complies with the Prisoner Learning Alliance’s recommendation for prison education in the UK.  The programme has been mapped (in prisons) across OLASS 4 contract specifications in terms of ‘real world’ embedded learning and improving literacy and employability skills, which means training and delivery can either be incorporated into OLASS delivery or be delivered as a standalone offending behaviour intervention.

When either the victim or offender does not wish to take part in a restorative conference, the programme works as a line of communication (mediation) between the offender and victim.  This can go some way to bringing closure to the victim and/or offender and in some cases can lead to both parties wishing to go forward to meet through a restorative conference.

The programme also equips participants with the skills, knowledge and understanding to adopt restorative practice to manage their own daily challenges and conflicts; it supports the development of healthy/healthier relationships.

Drawing on Solution Focused Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and Developmental Psychology, the programme encourages participants to identify current successes and to build on these to change attitudes and work towards positive future outcomes.

We have also developed an intervention programme for working with young offenders in collaboration with Odd Arts and through our partnership with IARS ( as part of the European Union’s ‘Restorative Justice in Europe’ project.  Please visit our Youth Justice page for more information.

Please get in touch for an informal chat about how we can support your restorative strategy.