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Why Victims Choose to Meet With Offenders

Coates, Robert B
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) Offender Programs Report. 8(4):49, 55-57.

The data-collection period covered 10 months of program activity, from January through October 2002. Forty-one of the 146 adult victims in the referral pool were interviewed. Of these 41 victims, 18 met in conference with their offenders, and 23 of them did not. Half of the victims who met with offenders during the study period participated in the study compared with 21 percent of those who did not meet with their offenders. In addition to victim interviews, six probation officers responsible for intake and referral and nine mediators/facilitators were interviewed. In order of the frequency of reason given, the following reasons were given by victims for not participating in a conference with their offenders: not worth the time and trouble involved, the matter had already been resolved, too much time had passed since the crime, just wanted the money, and complaint that the system just wanted “to slap the wrist of the offenders.” For the victims who participated in conferences, the most frequent reason given was to possibly help the offender, hear why the offender did the crime, communicate to the offender the impact of the crime, and to be sure the offender would not return to commit a repeat offense. One of the most significant findings of the study was that nearly 90 percent of the victims who met with offenders reported that the meeting had been helpful, and just over 85 percent of these victims did not wish that the justice system had offered them more options or services. On the other hand, nearly half of the victims who did not meet with their offenders wished that the justice system had offered more. Some implications of these findings are discussed. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Center,


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