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“Avoiding the marginalization and “McDonaldization” of victim-offender mediation: A case study in moving toward the mainstream.”

Umbreit, Mark S
June 4, 2015

Source: (2001) In Restorative juvenile justice: Repairing the harm of youth crime, ed. Gordon Bazemore and Lode Walgrave, 213-234. With an introduction by Gordon Bazemore and Lode Walgrave. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice Press.

Umbreit traces the growth and acceptance of victim-offender mediation in Europe and North America. Growth and acceptance are positive, yet they pose certain dangers. The passion and creativity in a new movement may fade; the primary focus on healing those most affected by crime may shift to a focus on serving justice system goals; and more emphasis may be placed on reducing overcrowded juvenile courts than on offering a truly restorative process for victims and offenders. In response to these dangers, Umbreit emphasizes the link between restorative justice and victim-offender mediation. He reviews the ways in which victim-offender mediation has expanded internationally, including the results of research on mediation. Specific opportunities and challenges for victim-offender mediation in moving into the mainstream are analyzed. To avoid marginalization and “McDonaldization,” Umbreit offers guidelines for restorative victim-offender mediation and dialogue.


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