Research is limited on mechanisms of action in restorative justice interventions. This multimethods study delineates the change processes underlying a successful in-prison group treatment program by (a) examining shifts in offenders’ self-schemas and (b) identifying key program components that influence this movement. Researchers assigned to small groups as “co-facilitators” gathered data using participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and psychological assessments at three time points. Mechanisms of action include group norms and behaviors that contrast with prior experiences and uncover offenders’ self-schemas through intrapsychic processes, which prompt them to test and act upon new possible selves through the group process.
How Does It Work? Mechanisms of Action in an In-Prison Restorative Justice Program