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Comparing Police- and Civilian-Run Family Group Conferences

NCJ Number
Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management Volume: 31 Issue: 4 Dated: 2008 Pages: 553-577
Natalie Kroovand Hipple; Edmund F. McGarrell
Date Published
25 pages
A comparison was conducted of family group conferences (FGCs) facilitated by police officers with those facilitated by civilians along several dimensions.
Results indicate no major differences between family group conferences (FGCs) facilitated by civilians as opposed to police officers. Observations indicated that police officers seemed to lecture offenders more during the FGC and made more suggestions to what should be in the reparation agreement. Youth who attended police officer facilitated FGCs “survived” longer before reoffending than youth who attended civilian facilitated FGCs. The study findings suggest that both police officers and civilians are capable of facilitating FGCs consistent with restorative justice principles. The study adds to the restorative justice literature by further examining conference processes and outcomes. FGC is a specific form of restorative justice that started in New Zealand and continues to grow across the world. FGC involves bringing together the extended family and friends along with the victims of the youth’s behavior in search of a resolution to the problem that will satisfy all involved. This paper specifically examines whether it matters who facilitates a FGC, police officers or civilians. In an attempt to answer this question, observational data and juvenile histories of offending from the Indianapolis Restorative Justice Project were used, along with additional questions to fill the gap in the literature. Notes, tables, figure, references, and appendix