Mediation in Finland
"Mediation in Finland " examines the history and current state of victim-offender mediation in Finland. Reform of the criminal justice system in Finland began in the 1970s and 1980s. This “neo-classical” reform sought, for example, a system based on punishment to express and maintain social norms, general prevention of crime, just and legitimate punishment, and clarity and simplicity in sentencing (i.e., limitation of judicial discretion in sentencing). Soon, however, this came under criticism from many social workers, researchers, and others. At the same time, some people in Finland became aware of Nils Christie’s interpretation of criminal offenses as conflicts “owned” by the parties directly involved (primarily the victim and offender). This led to alternative ideas and efforts based on conflict resolution – particularly victim-offender mediation – as the better response to criminal offenses. Mediation experiments took place in Finland in the early 1980s. Through the mid 1990s mediation programs expanded in Finland to many cities, towns, and municipalities. Victim-offender mediation has been established in Finland, for offenses by juveniles and adults.
“ Challenges of organizing victim-offender mediation in Finland ” reports on a study commissioned by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. The project focused on present situation surrounding mediation and possible options for organizing mediation.
“Victim-Offender Mediation- An Alternative, An Addition or Nothing but a Rubbish Bin in Relation to Legal Proceedings?” is a result of the research Iivari did for the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. He discusses the need for regulation and institutionalization in the mediation system. He compares the arguments for and against regulation. He continues the theme by exploring ways in which a mediation system and the criminal justice system can and need to work together. Ivari ends the discussion by developing a prevention (deterrence) theory around mediation.
 Originally published in Victim Offender Mediation in Europe: Making Restorative Justice work. Edited by the European Forum for Victim Offender Mediation and Restorative Justice in Europe. Leuven: Leuven University press. Reprinted here by permission.
 Originally published in the Newsletter of the European Forum for Victim Offender Mediation and Restorative Justice 2(2). 2001. Reprinted here by permission.