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Using Community Group Conferencing for Offender Re-entry

Gehm, John R
June 4, 2015

Source: (2002) Paper presented at “Dreaming of a New Reality,” the Third International Conference on Conferencing,
Circles and other Restorative Practices, August 8-10, 2002, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

As the number of offenders sent to correctional institutions has increased dramatically in the last decades, many communities are now experiencing the return of those offenders who have served their sentences. In addition to the problem of how to reintegrate them into their communities, other issues include unresolved issues with victims, community concerns regarding the extent to which rehabilitation has been accomplished or community safety can be ensured. Some community-based offender re-entry programs are examining ways of greater victim involvement and attempting to produce more successful recidivism outcomes. The use of community group conferencing as a technique in offender reintegration may have a role to play in offender re-entry. This paper describes several such programs which have attempted to incorporate a community conferencing re-entry model and will identify the strengths and weaknesses to using such an approach. In addition, it will discuss the theoretical rationale for greater victim involvement in the offender re-entry or parole process.


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