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Kitchener Experiment (From Mediation and Criminal Justice: Victims, Offenders and Community, P 14-26, 1989, Martin Wright and Burt Galaway, eds. -- See NCJ-118327)

NCJ Number
D E Peachey
Date Published
13 pages
This chapter traces the evolution of the Victim/Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP) in Kitchener, Ontario, which is often recognized as the forerunner of programs that bring convicted offenders into face-to-face meetings with their victims to explore interpersonal reconciliation and develop a reparation plan.
The basic concept for VORP came from probation officer Mark Yantzi. The program centered on restitution and victim-offender reconciliation when it was founded in 1974. It became an option for a probation condition. Offenders could either develop a restitution plan in negotiation with the victim or have the court set the restitution amount. Most offenders chose to negotiate with the victim. Yantzi interviewed each offender referred by the judge to explain the reconciliation process. After the offender agreed to participate in the project, a volunteer visited the victim to explain VORP. Approximately 80 percent of the victims agreed to participate in victim/offender meetings, which were typically held in the home or business where the crime occurred. The project dealt primarily with breaking and entering, theft, vandalism, and other property offenses. VORP became widely known as a probation innovation, and many jurisdictions adopted it although it was never subjected to formal evaluation. The VORP caseload declined to a negligible level by 1985, as there has been a shift in services to probation's monitoring of restitution orders and the preparation of victim impact statements in presentence submissions. 7 notes, 9 references.