Source: (1998) Juvenile and Family Court Journal. 49(2): 27-39.

Data from 123 cases involving juveniles referred to the Orange County (Calif.) Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP) from four police agencies between April and December 1996 were used to compare those who participated in the mediation process and those who did not. The research focused on the characteristics of the referred offenders and their victims; the referral offenses; offenses committed before and after the mediation program; the time periods from arrest to referral, mediation, and settlement; and the type and amounts of restitution made. Fifty-four offenders came to an agreement to mediate, while 67 did not go through mediation. Most of the offenders were in contact with the juvenile justice system for the first time and were referred for non-utilitarian offenses such as vandalism, malicious mischief, and annoying telephone calls. The other major offense category was minor utilitarian offenses such as shoplifting and stolen property. Recidivism was low in both the VORP group and the comparison group. In most cases when mediation did not take place, both parties refused to mediate or were not available. A short time period from the offense to the referral made participation in mediation more likely than did a long period. Findings suggested that VORP is most effective for juvenile first offenders who commit minor infractions. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service, www.ncjrs.org.