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The Effectiveness of Victim-Offender Mediation and Family Group Conferencing: A Meta-Analysis

Williams-Hayes, Mona Marie
June 4, 2015

Source: (2002) Dissertation presented for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

The costs associated with crimes are staggering. Victims, offenders, and communities are all affected by criminal offenses, and the current approach to justice seems both ineffective and inefficient. Restorative justice proponents have posited that their approach to justice through dialogue and negotiation may be more effective than traditional retributive justice. The purpose of this study was to conduct a meta-analysis to determine if such a conjecture was supported or rejected. Inclusion criteria were developed to find appropriate studies. A thorough review of the literature found a total of 40 studies that were suitable for analysis. After the findings were systematically organized, the dissertation addressed questions about whether or not variation across studies in outcomes was systematic. If the variation across studies in outcomes was systematic rather than random then the types of factors that might have explained the variation were analyzed. Results were analyzed using Hierarchical Generalized Linear Models (HGLM) with a logit link function. The program HGLM version 4 was used. All outcomes analyzed in the meta-analysis were dichotomous. Findings suggested that victims who participated in restorative justice reported lower rates of fear of revictimization than did victims in comparison groups. Both offenders and victims who participated in restorative justice also reported greater satisfaction with the process. Further, offenders and victims reported negotiating and completing restitution agreements more often than participants from comparison groups. The conclusions should be taken cautiously because there were many potential limitations to the analysis. (Author’s abstract).


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