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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 162914 Find in a Library
Title: Family Group Conferencing Comes to the U.S.: A Comparison With Victim-Offender Mediation
Journal: Juvenile and Family Court Journal  Volume:47  Issue:2  Dated:(Spring 1996)  Pages:29-38
Author(s): M S Umbreit; S L Stacey
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 10
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article compares the features of family group conferencing (FGC), which has been recently introduced in the United States, and victim-offender mediation, which has been operating in the United States for the past 20 years.
Abstract: FGC is based on a traditional ritual Maori (the native people of New Zealand) use for resolving conflicts. It allows some offenders who admit their guilt to participate in a conference that includes the offender's family and important friends, the victim, and the victim's family and friends. The conference is typically coordinated by a police officer or school official and focuses on a discussion of the offense, its impact on all involved, and the development of a plan for the offender to repair the harm caused by the incident. Although family group conferencing has many similarities to victim-offender mediation, it involves more people in the community in the discussion of the offense, its effects, and how to remedy the harm; it also acknowledges a wider range of people as being victimized by the offense and explores the effects on these people. It facilitates a wider range of participants to express their emotions about the impact of the crime and makes more deliberate distinctions in the meeting between condemning the offense versus condemning the offender. On the other hand, victim-offender mediation has a demonstrated and well-documented 20-year history in North America. The experience of a mediated dialogue between the victim and offender in a less public setting has consistently resulted in high levels of participant satisfaction and perceptions of fairness, reduction of victims' fear, a greater likelihood of victim restitution being completed, and less of a likelihood of recidivism by the offender. Future planning should focus on how the two interventions can complement each other and learn from each other's strengths and limitations. 28 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile correctional programs
Index Term(s): Mediation; Victim services; Victim-offender reconciliation
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