This research integrates knowledge from the sociology of emotions,micro-sociology and criminology to understand if and how a restorative justice conference can be a transformative event for offenders,with the potential to reduce offending Using a micro-sociological framework,with a focus on the ritual production of shared emotion,I examine how a conference can succeed or fail on the micro level,and the implications for future offending.To address these questions ,I use a number of methods, including in-depth interviews with police facilitators,micro analysis of a conference video, and quantitative analysis of systemic observations of conferences.
Results indicate that the micro dynamics of a conference can be empirically measured,such as the development of verbal and non verbal rhythm,entrainment, and balance. These variables influence success on a micro level,such as the short-term production of positive emotions and group solidarity. Police facilitators use a number of strategies to ensure that these necessary variables to a successful restorative justice conference are present.Furthermore, high solidarity conferences result in significantly less arrests than less successful conferences at a five year follow-up. I conclude by offering a micro theory of how restorative justice can be a successful criminal justice intervention with practical recommendation on how to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of conferencing.
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