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Victim-offender mediation: an institution of the postindustrial society

Kuzelewski, Dariusz
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) Paper presented at the 3rd Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology. Helsinki, 27-30 August.

According to Alvin Toffler’s theory of three waves of civilization, there were three waves of transformations in the history of the world: rural revolution as the first one, industry revolution as the second one and the formation of postindustrial society based on servicing as the third one. Fundamental concepts of this theory one can observe in the evolution of criminal procedure. The third wave trial will be based on consensualism with the victim-offender mediation in the forefront. The character of postindustrial society based on servicing can be expressed by new unknown phrases such as antimass-produce, adhoccracy and prosumption. These three are the most important if we take the position of victim-offender mediation in the third wave trial into account.
Contemporary criminal trial is a mass institution. Tribunals examine a multitude of similar cases employing the same procedures and making similar decisions. Victim-offender mediation has a chance to adapt criminal trial to the reality of the third wave civilization. First of all, it allows to infiltrate into the basis of the conflict between offender and victim and to solve it in the way that satisfies both parties. Mediator is a “co-producer” of a unique article adjusted to the expectations of an individual client.
The collapse of bureaucracy and the creation of a new model of management are clear changes connected with the third wave. Such management is based on ad hoc teams (for example mediation team made of victim, offender and mediator) called upon to solve specified tasks. They are dissolved after the realization of the task and their members come back to their previous duties or (like, for example, mediator) become members of new teams to solve next tasks. Victim, offender and mediator are not much restricted by formal procedures but they should be ready to employ experimental and not commonplace solutions. (Author’s abstract).


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