Source: (2013) European Journal of Criminology. DOI: 10.1177/1477370812467600

Little criminological research exists on the implementation of victim–offender mediation (VOM) in geographical areas characterized by a ‘crisis of legality’ owing to the massive presence of organized crime. The current paper examines why Italy can be seen as a case study, given that VOM has been successfully implemented in Northern Italy whereas it is still struggling in Southern Italy, a regional context deeply affected by organized crime and the Mafia subculture. It hypothesizes that the difficulties and the delays in implementing restorative justice and VOM in Southern Italy may be related to the pre-existing mediatory role played historically by Mafia leaders, which runs parallel to the ‘official’ VOM system. This paper also proposes some working hypotheses concerning the improvement of VOM in areas where criminality is strongly linked to Mafia-type organizations. (author's abstract)