Researchers Assess a Juvenile Justice Alternative

Understanding citizen involvement in the development of community capacity: An exploratory study

From January 2000 to April 2001, staff from the Community Justice Institute at Florida Atlantic University conducted a national study designed to answer basic questions about restorative conferencing, a non-adversarial alternative to court for juvenile crime offenders.

According to the principal investigator, restorative conferencing is designed to bring together all of the parties (the victim, juvenile offender, family and community representatives) affected by a criminal event to discuss how to repair the harm caused by the offense.

Key Results

  • The principal investigators published a book, Restorative Justice, Youth and Community: Theory, Policy and Practice.

Key Findings

  • In the book and a prior article, the principal investigators found that 48 states have some form of restorative conferencing programs in place.
  • They found that victim/offender mediation — the oldest conferencing model — is the most widely used.
  • Most restorative conferencing programs handle low level charges such as minor assaults and property damage.

Funding

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provided $178,783 to support the study from January 2000 through September 2003.

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