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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 75740 Find in a Library
Title: National Evaluation of the Neighborhood Justice Centers Field Test
Journal: Pretrial Services Annual Journal  Volume:3  Dated:(1980)  Pages:192-209
Author(s): D I Sheppard
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 18
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Three experimental neighborhood justice centers (NJC) established by the Department of Justice and the National Institute of Justice were evaluated to determine the programs' processes and impacts.
Abstract: The centers were located in Atlanta, Kansas City, and Los Angeles. The evaluation included an implementation study assessing initial development and operations, a process study examining NJC caseloads, procedures, and outcomes; and an impact study reviewing the program's effect on disputants, the courts, and the community. Between March 1978 and May 1979 the NJC's handled 3,947 cases. The primary means of dispute resolution was mediation. Participant refusal to participate in mediation and the inability of the NJC's to reach respondents were the major reasons why cases were not resolved. A majority of the cases received by NJC's were referred by the criminal or civil justice systems; the remainder were initiated by participants. Hearings were held for 82 percent of the cases referred by judges; 71 percent of these cases were resolved. Only 14 to 36 percent of the cases referred from other sources were mediated; 35 to 45 percent of these cases were resolved. A high proportion of the disputants indicated a high level of satisfaction with the NJC's. Most of the disputes not resolved through the NJC's remained unsettled. Case processing in NJC's was 5 to 10 times faster than in courts. Court judges were supportive of NJC's. About 30 percent of the community members surveyed were familiar with the NJC in their area, and had learned about the service through media coverage or public outreach. It was concluded that the centers provide a needed and effective alternative mechanism for the resolution of minor disputes. Findings also indicate that NJC's and should develop strong bonds with the local justice system. Tabular data are included.
Index Term(s): Alternative dispute settlement; Neighborhood justice centers; Program evaluation; Services effectiveness
Note: This article is based on a paper presented by the author at the Research Methodology and Criminal Justice Program Evaluation Workshop in Baltimore, MD, March, 1980
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