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Victim-offender mediation in Poland

Czarnecka-Dzialuk, Beata
June 4, 2015

Source: (2000) In Victim-offender mediation in Europe: Making restorative justice work, ed. The European Forum for Victim-Offender Mediation and Restorative Justice, 309-335. With an introduction by Tony Peters. Leuven, Belgium: Leuven University Press.

The authors mark the beginning of interest in mediation in Poland in the early 1990s. A group of government employees and representatives from a non-governmental organizational helping prisoners visited German mediation centers. At the same time, several researchers and academics in criminology and especially juvenile justice became interested. They sought new ways of responding to crime – helping juveniles better and meeting the needs of victims. An organizing group worked on directions for the development of mediation programs in Poland: experiments in mediation; legal principles; training for mediators; seminars and conferences; and publication of information on mediation. Experimental programs targeted at juveniles were initiated in 1996, and other steps were taken (e.g., an international conference in 1995, and training sessions for mediators). The Codes of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure (in force since 1998) include specific articles on victim-offender mediation. The Minister of Justice regulates the process of mediation and the people and organizations permitted to conduct mediation. The Juvenile Justice Act does not have special provisions concerning victim-offender mediation, but its flexibility permits the application of mediation in this sphere. Among criminal justice officials and legal structures there is significant support for mediation in juvenile justice. It is not clear that there is the same level of support for mediation in adult justice cases. Judges, prosecutors, and police express interest in the possibilities but also raise deep concerns about it. The authors present statistics on the number and types of mediation cases, mediation organizations, and mediators in Poland. They also provide an overview of the practice of mediation.


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