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Victim Meets Offender: The Impact of Restorative Justice and Mediation

Mark S. Umbreit, with Robert B. Coates and Boris Kalanj
ISBN: 978-1-881798-02-6
1994/244 pages

A CriminalJusticePress Project
"Here in one easily-accessible book is a summary of key research findings in victim-offender mediation/reconciliation, coupled with practical suggestions for those operating or starting such programs."—Howard Zehr, MCC Office on Crime and Justice.

"This book explores structural, funding, community and administrative issues. It looks to the future and points to risks and opportunities. For anyone interested in the developing field of victim-offender mediation this is a very readable book packed with facts and resource materials."—Dave Kerr, Victim’s Voice


A study evaluates voluntary victim-offender mediation programs operating in 4 juvenile courts in Oakland, CA, Minneapolis, MN, Albuquerque, NM and Austin, TX. Data were obtained from interviews with 1,153 victims and offenders, as well as court records and other sources. Topics include: mediation outcomes; victim satisfaction; offender perceptions; recidivism; case examples; parental involvement; how to start a local program; resources for program managers; program evaluation kit; and others.

Victim-offender programs resulted in very high levels of satisfaction among both victims (nearly 80%) and offenders (nearly 90%). Victims who participated in mediation were far more likely than other victims to feel that the justice system had treated them fairly. More than 90% of mediation sessions produced a negotiated restitution plan to compensate the victim, and more than 80% of offenders complied with their restitution obligations. Victim-offender mediation helped reduce fear and anxiety among crime victims. Considerably fewer and less-serious additional crimes were committed with a 1-year follow-up period by juvenile offenders who participated in mediation programs, but, because of the size of program samples, results were not statistically significant. Results indicate that wider public policy consideration should be given to increasing the availability of victim-offender mediation services, perhaps as a basic right for all victims.