Source: (1998) European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research. 6(4):507-525.In this article we present, discuss and try to evaluate initiatives which were recently introduced into the Belgian criminal justice system, aimed at the development of creative answers to crime that avoid the use of traditional prison sentences. We decided to focus this analysis on the practice of mediation as it is actually considered the most innovative approach to the crime problem. Mediation as a problem-solving intervention has to be considered in direct relation to the discussion of the purpose of the criminal justice system. By putting the emphasis on the dialogue between the victim and the offender, a common solution is worked out with the help of a mediator. In this way reparation, redress and sometimes even reconciliation become core values of the penal action.