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Proposal To Use Mediation and “Night Correspondents” To Curb Urban Violence in Cergy, France

de Carlo, Laurence
June 4, 2015

Source: (2002) Negotiation Journal. 18(2): 163-175.

Night correspondents have been hired by some municipalities to interact with the residents of public housing for the purpose of reducing violence through dialog and practical assistance intended to reduce frustration and anger. Evidence indicates night correspondents have been particularly effective in reducing daily disrespectful behaviors among residents, which has been an increasing problem in low-income neighborhoods. An important part of their work consists of interpersonal mediations in family conflicts, neighborhood quarrels, and brawls between youths. In the spring of 1998 and 1999 surveys were conducted in Cergy to diagnose the violence in that jurisdiction and submit action proposals. The results of the first survey have encouraged the Town Hall representatives to create a program of night correspondents. The findings of the second survey indicated that residents favored a program of night correspondents in the belief that such a program would result in improved living conditions. Recommendations from the surveys specified the responsibilities of night correspondents. It was recommended that they do daily repairs at the housing complexes in order to promote an ordered living environment. The repairs can provide an opportunity for dialog with residents. The recommendation to establish a night correspondent program in Cergy has not yet been implemented, largely because of the difficulty in coordinating the program in the neighborhoods of concern. Still, the surveys have made policymakers and residents aware of the importance of mediation and non-coercive measures in addressing the sources of violence and preventing it. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service,


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