Source: (1996) University of Oxford, Centre for Criminological Research.
The last 20 years have brought a revival of interest in the status of victims in the criminal justice process. The focus has been on the responsibilities of the criminal justice system towards victims. However, much research highlights ways in which the victim-offender relationship may both precede and outlast the government’s involvement. Nevertheless, the concept of victim-offender mediation has not established a clear niche for itself; the varied approaches used have opened it to criticism. Early initiatives included the Victim/Offender Reconciliation Program in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada; the night-prosecutor diversion program in Ohio; and initiatives sponsored by the British probation service. Wright has classified victim-offender mediation models in terms of structural factors such as the relationship with the formal criminal justice system and the management and staffing, as well as operational factors such as the types of cases accepted and the use of direct versus indirect mediation. This author’s proposed model would have explicit objectives; flexibility with respect to the type of service provided, based on the needs of individuals and the characteristics of particular cases; and the creation of specialist mediation units within the probation service.
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