Source: (1995) Federal Probation 59 (4):48-52.

Mediation cases should be limited to probationers' technical violations, because probation officers currently have much discretion regarding whether to file a petition or simply report the conduct to the court and request no further action. Giving the probationer an opportunity to mediate technical violations would reduce the burden on court dockets while giving the probation officer and the offender an alternative forum for airing their grievances and, ideally, gaining a better understanding of both parties' positions. Participation must be entirely voluntary to protect due process requirements and the basic tenets of mediation. A model program includes neutral and well-trained mediators, written agreements that both parties sign, a barrier between the mediation process and the formal court system, and information to the offender regarding the rights being waived by entering the process. Critics of mediation note the time and money spent in futile conciliation attempts, the negative impact on individual rights, and the net-widening effect. However, a well-run program can reduce such drawbacks. Reference notes