Victim Offender Mediation In The Juvenile Justice System

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The juvenile justice system has been criminalized leading to a more punitive system, but some juvenile justice professionals believe that a holistic approach would be more beneficial.
The issues of juvenile delinquent offenders and status offenders have been addressed from a holistic approach, which involves offenders, victims, communities and families in the resolutions of problems. This holistic approach has shown successful results in decreasing the recidivism rates for status and delinquent juvenile offenders. Status offenders are juveniles that have committed acts that are only illegal due to their age. These include running away, skipping school or disobeying their parents. Juveniles charged with such offenses used to be referred to
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Victim-offender mediation is a practice that allows a victim to meet with the offender in a secure environment with the help of a trained mediator. This allows the offender to understand the impact of their actions and attempt to make amends with the victim. According to Tsui (2014) mediation is used in over 300 programs in North American, in addition of over 500 in Europe. In one victim-offender mediation case cited in Bazemore (1999), the victim said she was less angry and fearful after learning more about the offender and his crime during the mediation. Beginning in 1999, the Clark County Juvenile Court (CCJC) in Washington established a Victim Offender Mediation (VOM) program. They even created an alterative program called Victim Impact Offender Competency Education, which could replace VOM when there was no identifiable victim or the victims did not want to meet with the offender that could produce the same benefits. CCJC also changed its community service program to restorative community service, which allowed victims to ask offenders to complete their community service at the place of their choice, in some cases even for the victim directly (Wood, 2013). Studies on victim-offender mediation have shown that victims are far more likely to benefit compared to a normal court process. In addition, the studies show victims feel less afraid and report higher satisfaction with how the outcome of the crime was handled (Tsui, 2014). Victim-offender mediation is one method of restorative justice that can be beneficial for the victim, offender and the

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