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Why Victims Choose to Meet with Offenders

Coates, Robert B
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) VOMA Connections no. 18 (Fall): 1, 10-12. Downloaded 3 May 2005.

Victim offender mediation and conferencing has been adopted in numerous criminal justice jurisdictions in the United States and abroad (Umbreit, 2001). It has become a popular programmatic option under the restorative justice banner. Increasingly, it is being used with victims of serious and violent crime (Umbreit, Vos, Coates, and Brown, 2003). While its
proponents increase in number, there remains the question among supporters and detractors alike: “Why do crime victims choose to meet with offenders?” This question is the focus of the current
study. Policymakers wonder why victims would desire to meet with offenders since the popular view is that citizens want to be tough on crime and therefore on criminals. Program administrators struggle with how to best use scarce probation and corrections dollars and worry whether victims will consider these kinds of programs tough enough, or on the other hand, whether victims will use the meetings as an opportunity to “pay backâ€? the offenders. And on the streets, in the neighborhoods, some individuals scratch their heads when they hear about victim offender mediation/ conferencing and say, “Not me,â€? while others light up and say, “Yes, I would try
that.� (excerpt)


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