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Family Group Conferencing and Re-Offending Among First-Time Juvenile Offenders: The Indianapolis Experiment.

McGarrell, Edmund F
June 4, 2015

Source: (2007) Justice Quarterly. 24(2): 221-246.

In an assessment of treatment, this study examined prevalence patterns of reoffending among first-time juvenile offenders involved in family group conferences (FGC) in Indianapolis, IN.The results of the Indianapolis Restorative Justice Experiment using family group conferences (FGC) for first-time juvenile offenders were largely positive. The findings indicate that youths participating in FGC survive longer before being rearrested over a 24-month period. In addition, youths participating in conferences had significantly lower incidence rates. The results indicate the need for continued experimentation and study of the role of restorative justice practices and FGC in the justice system. Restorative justice processes and family group conferences in particular have become increasingly common in justice system practices across the world. In a family group conference, after admission of responsibility by the offender, they, the victim, and the supporters of both the offender and victim are brought together. They are brought together with a trained facilitator to discuss the incident and the harm brought to the victim. The FGC provides an opportunity for the victim to explain how they have been harmed and ask questions of the offender. This study addressed the reoffending among youths involved in FGC. Nearly 800 youths participated in the experiment and the cases were tracked for 24 months following their initial arrest. (Abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service,


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