State of knowledge: Four decades of victim‐offender mediation research and practice: The evidence

Date01 December 2018
Published date01 December 2018
AuthorMark Umbreit,Toran Hansen
State of knowledge: Four decades of victim-offender
mediation research and practice: The evidence
Toran Hansen
| Mark Umbreit
Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution,
Salisbury University, Salisbury, Maryland
School of Social Work, University of Minnesota,
St. Paul, Minnesota
Toran Hansen, Conflict Analysis and Dispute
Resolution, Salisbury University, Holloway Hall,
Room 106, 1101 Camden Avenue, Salisbury, MD
This paper provides an overview of 40 years of victim-
offender mediation evaluation research. This research dem-
onstrates that victims and offenders are more satisfied with
the process and outcomes than with the courts, they are
more likely to draft and complete restitution agreements,
they derive psyc hosocial benefits , the process is less expen-
sive, crime victimsare more likely to receive apologies from
offenders, and offenders are less likely to recidivate. These
benefits are not necessarily uniformly distributed. This first
waveresearch provides a platform for the second wave,
currently underway. To contextualizethese findings, current
and future victim-offender mediationpractices are outlined.
This paper considers empirical evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of victim-offender media-
tion, as well as some disparate impacts that the process may have on different types of victims and
offenders. The evidence provided parallels key findings that have emerged over the course of the
40-year career of Mark Umbreit, a restorative justice scholar and pioneer in victim-offender media-
tion (starting in the 1970s when it was known as the Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program), who
has considered the effectiveness of victim-offender mediation throughout his career. In order to estab-
lish the strength of this evidence, the practice of victim-offender mediation is briefly outlined. Empir-
ical evidence of the impacts of victim-offender mediation for victims, offenders, and society are then
detailed. These victim-offender mediation findings originate from what we have identified as the first
wave of restorative justice research, which has paved the way for the second wave of research just
now getting under way. The paper also considers some differential impacts and concerns that have
emerged in studies of victim-offender mediation, as well as some means that have been demonstrated
to mitigate those concerns. It is important to note that this analysis does not consider the process of
victim-offender mediation in cases of severe violence, such as in attempted homicide and murder
[Correction added on 12 September, 2018, after first online publication: State of knowledgewas added to the title.]
Received: 5 March 2018 Revised: 19 June 2018 Accepted: 24 June 2018
DOI: 10.1002/crq.21234
© 2018 Association for Conflict Resolution and Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Conflict Resolution Quarterly. 2018;36:99113. 99

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT