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A victim-centered approach to justice? Victim satisfaction effects on third-party punishments.

Gromet, Dena M.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2012) Law and Human Behavior. 36(5):375-389.

Three studies investigated whether victims’ satisfaction with a restorative justice process influenced
third-party assignments of punishment. Participants evaluated criminal offenses and victims’ reactions to
an initial restorative justice conference, and were later asked to indicate their support for additional
punishment of the offender. Across the three studies, we found that victim satisfaction (relative to
dissatisfaction) attenuates people’s desire to seek offender punishment, regardless of offense severity
(Study 2) or conflicting reports from a third-party observer (Study 3). This relationship was explained by
the informational value of victim satisfaction: Participants inferred that victims felt closure and that
offenders experienced value reform, both of which elevated participants’ satisfaction with the restorative
justice outcome. The informational value communicated by victim satisfaction, and its criminal justice
implications, are discussed. (authors’ abstract)


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