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Restorative Justice Through Victim-Offender Mediation: A Multi-Site Assessment

NCJ Number
Western Criminology Review Volume: 1 Issue: 1 Dated: 1998 Pages: 1-28
Mark S. Umbreit
Date Published
28 pages
Results of a four-site study of victim-offender mediation and of related studies revealed high levels of victim and offender satisfaction with the mediation process, along with high rates of successful restitution completion and reduced fear among crime victims.
The four programs were located in Albuquerque, N. Mex.; Austin, Tex.; Minneapolis; and Oakland. The research used a quasi-experimental design with pre-intervention and post-intervention measurements and two different comparison reports. Community-based agencies managed three of the programs; a probation administered the fourth. Between 30 and 40 percent of the case referrals resulted in a face-to-face mediation system. Probation was the main source of referrals. Data from the 1,131 face-to-face mediation sessions resulted in the negotiation of a mutually agreeable restitution plan in 95 percent of the cases. These plans primarily included financial restitution, although many plans included community service or personal service for the victim. Several studies have revealed that victims report after mediation sessions that meeting the offender and being able to talk about what happened was more satisfying than receiving restitution. In addition, victim-offender mediation results in high levels of victim and offender with the mediation process and outcomes. Moreover, consistent and positive outcome data have emerged for the first cross-national assessment, which has included four states, four Canadian provinces, and two cities in England. Tables, note, and 46 references