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An Experiment in Police-Based Restorative Justice: The Bethlehem (PA) Project

McCold, Paul
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) Police Practice and Research: An International Journal. 4(4): 379-390.

This paper presents several of the major findings from an experimental evaluation of a new problem-oriented policing practice. First-time moderately serious juvenile offenders were randomly assigned either to formal adjudication or to a diversionary ‘restorative policing’ process called family group conferencing. Police-based conferencing employs trained police officers to facilitate a meeting attended by juvenile offenders, their victims, and their respective family and friends, to discuss the harm caused by the offender’s actions and to develop and agreement to repair the harm The impact of the program reported in this paper was measured through surveys of victims, offenders, offender’s parents, and police officers and by examining outcomes of conferences and formal adjudication. Results are related to five concerns raised about restorative policing. (author’s abstract)


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