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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 84020 Find in a Library
Title: Dispute Resolution - Seeking Justice Outside the Courtroom
Journal: Corrections Magazine  Volume:8  Issue:4  Dated:(August 1982)  Pages:33-40
Author(s): J J McCarthy
Date Published: 1982
Page Count: 8
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The resolution of disputes through the services of mediation centers is discussed in this article; examples of cases that are resolved through this process are provided.
Abstract: Dispute resolution is one of the country's newest court reform movements. In the past 12 years, the use of mediation as an out-of-court method of resolving interpersonal disputes has grown from a single project in Philadelphia to nearly 200 programs nationwide holding as many as 200,000 hearings yearly. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the American Bar Association, Ralph Nader, and members of Congress all support the mediation center concept. Centers handle cases much faster than formal litigation, usually conducting hearings within 10 days of referral. Critics point out that the effect on reducing the volume of court cases or jail populations is negligible. However, proponents believe that the method will have an impact on crime by solving problems at an early stage. They also suggest that the options available to the court are often inappropriate and ineffective in dealing with disputes between acquaintances. Mediation emphasizes face-to-face discussions and lengthy sessions between conflicting parties. About 60 percent of the country's mediation programs are positioned within the criminal justice system. Another 30 percent maintain their independence as private, nonprofit corporations. Disputants who reach the bargaining table are disproportionately poor, members of minority groups, uneducated, and female. The age and background of mediators vary with each program; some use paid law students, while others rely on volunteers. Most mediators find the work satisfying and challenging. Photographs are provided.
Index Term(s): Alternative dispute settlement; Arbitration; Conflict resolution; Mediation
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