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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 50556 Find in a Library
Title: MINNEAPOLIS (MN) - OFFICE OF THE CITY ATTORNEY - CITIZENS DISPUTE SETTLEMENT PROJECT - EVALUATION REPORT NO 1
Author(s): ANON
Corporate Author: New England Free Press
United States of America
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 38
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
New England Free Press
Somerville, MA 02143
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A PREPROSECUTION DIVERSION PROJECT DEALING WITH DOMESTIC AND NEIGHBORHOOD DISPUTES INVOLVING A CRIMINAL COMPLAINT IS EVALUATED.
Abstract: THE MINNEAPOLIS PROGRAM ACCOMPLISHES DIVERSION THROUGH MEDIATION SESSIONS DESIGNED TO HELP DISPUTANTS RESOLVE THEIR CONFLICTS EQUITABLY AND IN A WAY THAT WILL PREVENT FURTHER CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR BY EITHER PARTY. PROVIDING AN ALTERNATIVE TO TRADITIONAL COURT PROCEEDINGS, THE PROJECT HANDLED APPROXIMATELY 220 CASES BETWEEN SEPTEMBER 1976 AND MAY 1977. MANY OF THE CASES INVOLVED ALLEGED BATTERY. THE EVALUATION REPORT WHICH COVERS THIS BEGINNING PHASE OF PROJECT OPERATIONS, DESCRIBES THE RATIONALE AND METHODS OF EVALUATION, THE PROCEDURAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PROJECT, THE CLIENT POPULATION, AND THE TYPES OF INCIDENTS LEADING TO PARTICIPATION IN THE PROJECT. TERMS OF AGREEMENT RESULTING FROM MEDIATION ARE ASSESSED, AND INDICATORS OF PROGRAM SUCCESS ARE CONSIDERED. PROCEDURAL AND SUBSTANTIVE RECOMMENDATIONS ARE OFFERED. ONE FINDING WAS THAT THE PROJECT'S WORKLOAD WAS MUCH SMALLER THAN EXPECTED AND THAT, AS A RESULT, PROJECT STAFF BECAME INVOLVED IN ACTIVITIES OUTSIDE THE IMMEDIATE SCOPE OF THE PROJECT (E.G., ISSUING COMPLAINTS, REFERRING PERSONS TO OTHER AGENCIES). IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT THE OVERALL WORKLOAD OF THE STAFF BE REVIEWED AND PRIORITIES SET. CAUTION IS ADVISED IN EXPANDING POLICE INVOLVEMENT IN MAKING REFERRALS TO THE PROJECT, EMPHASIZING INSTEAD THE NEED FOR SPECIAL TRAINING TO ENABLE POLICE OFFICERS TO MAKE APPROPRIATE REFERRALS. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT REFERRAL AND OTHER MECHANISMS BE CONSIDERED FOR PROVIDING SERVICES IN CASES THAT DO NOT INVOLVE CRIMINAL COMPLAINTS. THE PROJECT'S OBJECTIVE OF PROVIDING BEHAVIORALLY SPECIFIC AGREEMENTS BETWEEN DISPUTANTS WAS MET. MOST CONTRACTS INVOLVED SPECIFIC BEHAVIOR (E.G., MAKING RESTITUTION OR AVOIDING CONTACT) RATHER THAN VAGUE ASSERTIONS (E.G., GETTING ALONG BETTER). A 2-WEEK FOLLOWUP INTERVIEW SHOWED THAT MOST CLIENTS (94.1 PERCENT OF VICTIMS AND 93.3 PERCENT OF DEFENDANTS) SAID THEY WERE GLAD THEY HAD CHOSEN TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PROJECT. PERCENTAGES AT A 3-MONTH FOLLOWUP WERE 87.7 FOR VICTIMS AND 98.3 FOR DEFENDANTS. THESE FINDINGS SUGGEST THAT THE PROJECT IS NOT BIASED IN FAVOR OF EITHER VICTIMS OR DEFENDANTS. FOR THE SAMPLE OF CASES EVALUATED, THE PROJECT'S OVERALL DIVERSION RATE WAS 85.2 PERCENT. THIS INCLUDES DIVERSION FROM COURT PROCEEDINGS BASED UPON SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF MEDIATION (57.4 PERCENT), AND UPON THE DECISION TO DISMISS THE CASE WITHOUT A COURT PROCEEDING (27.8 PERCENT). FOR PARTICIPANTS WHO SIGNED A FORMAL CONTRACT, DIVERSION FROM COURT OCCURRED IN 90 PERCENT OF CASES. IT IS CONCLUDED THAT, IN ITS FIRST 9 MONTHS, THE PROJECT HAS DONE VERY WELL. SUPPORTING DATA ARE INCLUDED.
Index Term(s): Alternative dispute settlement; Minnesota; Program evaluation; Prosecutorial diversion
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=50556

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