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Restorative Justice - What Have We Learned From Research?

mediation offenders victim juvenile

Little empirical data is available on most restorative justice policies and practices, although a growing number of studies are being initiated. For present purposes, findings that have emerged from the study of the oldest and most well-developed restorative justice intervention throughout North America and Europe will be highlighted. The practice of victim-offender mediation with juvenile and adult offenders has been the subject of forty studies in the United States and Europe (Umbreit, 2000). A cross-national study of victim-offender mediation in four states (Umbreit and Coates), four provinces of Canada, and two cities of England (Umbreit, Coates, and Roberts) found high levels of victim and offender satisfaction with the mediation process and outcome. Victims who met the juvenile offender were significantly more likely to have been satisfied with how the justice system handled their case than similar victims who did not participate in mediation, and they also were significantly less fearful of being revictimized, after the mediation session. Offenders in mediation were significantly more likely to successfully complete restitution than were similar offenders who did not meet their victim. A large study of nearly thirteen hundred juvenile offenders (Nugent, Umbreit, Wiinamaki, and Paddock, 2000) found a 32 percent reduction in recidivism among those juvenile offenders who participated in a mediation session with their victim.

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