Compulsory Mediation within Civil and Criminal Law: Good, Bad, or Just Plain Daft
From the article on ILennon: A Comment on Legal Developments:
...Mediation is a process which carries with it undeniable successes, and which when used in the right circumstances is a altogether good thing, providing access to justice, a speedy and affordable process and a way of resolving disputes in a manner designed to restore and preserve relationships. “In all dispute resolution methods there is always pressure for change”[i], one such change mediation faces is the possibility of being made a compulsory precursor to litigation. This paper takes a short but critical look at the possible outcomes if a statutory requirement meant that mediation become compulsory within Civil and Criminal claims.
Consistency and proportionality in victim-offender mediation agreements
from the article by Caryn Saxon on Mediate.com:
As restorative victim offender mediation programs continue to gain ground within the criminal justice system, more community organizations committed to restorative justice values and initiatives are collaborating with traditional justice agencies and offices. While these collaborations are mutually beneficial and socially transformative, inevitable tensions emerge when restorative and traditional models of justice engage one another within a community. In this paper, we will examine one example of this – the question of consistency and proportionality in our response to offenders and crime – and explore ways in which bilateral (restorative) and unilateral (traditional) methods of resolution can amend this apparent conflict and remain collaborative partners in effectively bringing justice to their communities and its members responsibly and safely.
Empowered Victims & Moral Perpetrators: A Needs-Based Model of Reconciliation
At a recent workshop at Leiden University on Obstacles and Catalysts for Peaceful Behavior, Nurit Shnabel presented exciting research distinguishing the needs of victims and perpetrators in interpersonal and intergroup conflicts. According to Shnabel and colleagues’ Needs-Based Model of Reconciliation, victims of conflict experience a psychological loss of status and honor, thus undermining their identities as powerful actors. Perpetrators, on the other hand, experience a psychological loss of social acceptance, thus threatening their identities as moral actors. Accordingly, victims and perpetrators are differentially motivated to restore these respective identities, and interactions that do so will increase their willingness to reconcile....
What if we gave victims of serious crimes the opportunity to face the offenders?
There has been much speculation about the factors that might lead someone to commit the kind of crime that was perpetrated against Mikey Partida. While some of it may be premature it is a normal human response to try to make sense of something that is so senseless.
….Lisa Rea, founder of Restorative Justice International, who has worked in restorative justice since 1992 believes that victims of crime do not want some vague sense of "closure" but rather they want to regain a sense of safety, security and healing. She argues in a 2012 article that for many victims the healing process would be facilitated by an opportunity to face the offender, ask him/her questions, describe the harm that was done, and seek a way for the harms done to them to be made right. She notes: "...(T)hroughout my work the number of victims who are seeking to participate in some kind of restorative justice dialogue is increasing."
Power of One: Restorative justice couples victims with offenders
from the article on CTV.ca:
....A woman named Marité has been taking part in the process, not by facing her sexually-abusive father, but rather, another man who committed similar acts.
She said that results have helped her cope with the damage she suffered.
"For him it was like I was his daughter," said Marité. "And I was able also to express my anger to him and that's what he wanted rather than silence from his daughter."
"I can now go forward because I'm not bound to my father anymore. I can leave him go."
New Staffordshire crime-fighting partnership praised by Justice Secretary
On a visit to Staffordshire's new integrated crime-fighting hub, Justice Secretary Lord McNally met former offenders, victims of crime, and staff from police, probation and drug treatment agencies.
And Lord McNally was impressed at the joint working shown by the 180° Integrated Offender Management partnership, which aims to help tackle the most challenging and prolific offenders in Staffordshire in an integrated way.
Select committee urged to avoid courtroom 'Oprahfication'
from the article on Voxy.co.nz:
Rethinking Crime and Punishment agrees that victims should be able to provide information to the court about the effects of offending; and the harm they have suffered. However, it does not believe that the presentation of a victim impact statement in the Court, was the best way to achieve it.
Review: Restorative justice in practice: Evaluating what works for victims and offenders.
by Eric Assur
Three British criminology researchers and educators, affiliated with the University of Sheffield, have offered a very rich book on the use of victim-offender mediation programs (what they call schemes) in adult criminal justice venues in England.
Most early Restorative Justice (RJ) writing has focused on juvenile justice programs, generally with a concentration on diversionary approaches for first time offenders. The Shapland, Robinson and Sorsby book looks exclusively and intensely at three ‘schemes’ and several hundred ‘cases’ involving adults. The criminal justice programs they studied were funded by the British Ministry of Justice – Home Office between 2001 and 2008. They worked with adults at arrest, while going through the courts and even with some while imprisoned.
Letting victims define justice
....There is a growing myth that for victims, justice requires tougher penalties. If only it was that simple. There is no evidence that punishment is as important to the majority of victims as some would have us believe. When asked in one study why they reported the crime, sexual assault victims listed punishment of the offender very low on their list of priorities.
The offer of restorative justice to victims of violent crime: Should it be protective or proactive?
The victims in our sample suggest generalizing the offer of restorative justice to all victims. Themselves victims of very serious crimes, they experienced the beneficial impact of participation in a restorative intervention. However, while they believe that all victims should be informed about restorative opportunities, they emphasize that victims have to feel ready to participate in such programs.