Source: (2013) Crime, Law and Social Change. 59(1):113-132.
This article discusses issues that restorative justice programs may face during implementation and lessons learned from an exploratory study. We examined various perspectives of multiple participants who experienced a Victim-Offender Mediation (VOM) program in a mid-sized Midwestern city in the U.S. The primary data source comprised 34 interviews with 37 participants including adult crime victims, juvenile offenders and their parents, mediators, and representatives from referring agencies. Observations complemented the interview data. Findings revealed patterns of victim marginalization during the processes used: victims were not prepared appropriately; were at times pressured by mediators to behave in certain ways; and, occasionally felt intimidated by offenders and/or their families. We discuss some factors that may have influenced the emergence of these patterns. This study revealed gaps between the guiding principles of restorative justice theory and field practices, particularly sensitivity toward victims to meet their needs. We suggest that restorative justice programs should consider using a monitoring system to ensure that the processes used remain consistent with the values and principles of restorative justice. (author’s abstract)
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