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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 83480 Find in a Library
Title: Mediation as an Alternative to Adjudication - Rhetoric and Reality in the Neighborhood Justice Movement (From Neighborhood Justice, P 215-248, 1982, by Roman Tomasic et al - See NCJ-83472)
Author(s): R Tomasic
Date Published: 1982
Page Count: 34
Sponsoring Agency: Longman Inc
New York, NY 10036
Sale Source: Longman Inc
19 West 44th Street
Suite 1012
New York, NY 10036
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Although the benefits promised by proponents of neighborhood justice centers have prompted the establishment of new programs, by and large the programs have not delivered the promised benefits.
Abstract: One explanation for the failure of reality to conform to the rhetoric surrounding neighborhood justice centers is the enthusiasm of policymakers for action based more on perceived political necessities than on intellectual justifications; for example, the manner in which mediation has been advanced has often meant its imposition upon social structures which have had little experience with it. There is little comparative research on the dynamics of mediation in urban America; yet policymakers proceed blindly upon the assumption that there is abundant clarity in this area. One of the paradoxes of the neighborhood justice movement is its heavy reliance upon the justice system for case referrals on the one hand and its attempt to sustain a commitment to the ideology of community to preserve its independence from the justice system on the other hand. A commitment to high caseloads requires strong ties to the justice system, while commitment to the notion of resolving community conflicts yields low caseloads and uncertain sources of funding. Moreover, cases referred to the centers from the justice system are more likely to be resolved in a way perceived as effective by the centers due largely to the coercive aura of the courts, while the few cases referred from community sources are less likely to be viewed as satisfactorily resolved because of the absence of a coercive instrument. Also, the similarity of justice centers to diversion programs makes them vulnerable to the criticisms of diversion. If the justice centers are to be a true alternative to the courts, they must become independent of them, and with a greater emphasis on the localization of disputing, whether in the neighborhood, between consumers and retailers, and in the workplace, mediation will play an important role in dispute processing. Ten notes are listed.
Index Term(s): Alternative dispute settlement; Mediation
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