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Evaluation Reports

The articles in this section either summarize evaluation reports or are the reports themselves.

Montanez, Joe and Ruth-Heffelbower, Duane. Victim Offender Mediation Refusals: A study of mediator perceptions
Restorative Justice has been described as a way to bring the victim and offender together to promote a better understanding of the consequences of the crime and healing for the victim and community (Gerard, 1996, p.3). With this in mind, the researcher conducted a quantitative random study of why mediation refusals occur. The researcher interviewed 45 Victim Offender Reconciliation Program mediators who had mediated cases between 2001 and 2003. It is the hope of VORP and the researcher that the findings in this study will allow VORP to become more successful at obtaining mediation agreements. The literature found within this paper suggests that the success of mediation is determined by the knowledge of the mediator. We hope that the use of the instrument designed for this study will allow us to determine the areas that may present the most problems for mediators. Victim-offender dialogue in a mediation setting is the primary tool used to bring about restorative justice. A review of the literature on restorative justice and mediation suggests many reasons for the success or failure of the mediation process. Factors shown to contribute to successful mediation include: 1) the mediator’s style, 2) the ability of the mediator to show empathy, and 3) the mediator’s competence. The mediation process, on the other hand, may be unsuccessful due to some of the following reasons: 1) if there is unequal power between the parties involved, 2) if there is a low motivation to come to an agreement, and 3) if there is no follow-up of the offender to make sure he/she complies with agreement that he/she has made. VORP of the Central Valley has an over 99% agreement rate once the parties agree to mediate. The research process here will utilize a case analysis to examine reasons for success or failure during the lead-in to the mediation process in the Victim Offender Reconciliation Program in Fresno, California. (excerpt)
Holton, Liz and Marsh, Peter and Crow, Gill. Supporting Pupils, Schools and Families: An Evaluation of the Hampshire Family Group Conferences in Education Project
Hampshire County Council Social Services Department was one of the first UK agencies to promote the use of Family Group Conferences (FGCs) as a means of involving wider family networks in the support of children and young people. They took their first referrals in 1994. The model originates in New Zealand and has now been subject to significant development and testing (Marsh and Crow, 1998). In 1998 a bid for education funding by the Principal Welfare Officer allowed the setting up of 'Education FGCs' to be developed. The Conferences try to help young people experiencing some difficulty in school, but as this report will show there are often family issues and welfare concerns as well. The report evaluates the work of the Education FGC project from its first implementation through the experience of the young people many months after their FGC. (excerpt)
Youth Justice Board for England and Wales. Summary of the national evaluation of the Restorative Justice in Schools Programme
In May 2000, the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales launched a pilot initiative in two schools in the London borough of Lambeth using restorative justice conferences to tackle exclusions, truancy, bullying and other forms of anti-social behaviour. Following early signs of promise, in April 2001, the Board gained three years, funding under the Treasury's Invest to Save scheme to extend the programme to the borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, and two other London boroughs, which subsequently withdrew from the scheme. (excerpt)
Youth Justice Board for England and Wales. National Evaluation of the Restorative Justice in Schools Programme
The Restorative Justice in Schools programme consisted of nine local Yots working across 26 schools (20 secondary and 6 primary). The contract to evaluate these initiatives was awarded to Partners in Evaluation, a specialist agency with a multi-ethnic team of researchers and a national reputation for conducting evaluations in the fields of health, education, social exclusion and regeneration. The evaluation was intended to explore the following research questions: 1. What are the levels of victimisation, bullying and robbery in the schools in the study? 2. How are restorative justice approaches introduced into the schools? 3. To what extent are participants in restorative justice conferences (victims and offenders) satisfied with the process at the time of the conference? 4. To what extent do the conferences show short-term and long-term effects on the participants' experience of victimisation, robbery and bullying? 5. Do conferences and other restorative justice approaches have wider effects on the nature and frequency of acts of victimisation in the schools involved in the project? 6. Are restorative justice conferences a useful tool in reducing school exclusions? This report shows the findings of the national evaluation. In writing the report, our aim has been to produce a report that is concise and usable, presenting the most important data so that the key findings and messages do not get lost. (excerpt)
Youth Justice Board for England and Wales. The summary of the initial report on the Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programme
The Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programme (ISSP) is the most robust community programme available for young offenders in England and Wales. It is targeted at persistent young offenders and those who have committed more serious offences, and can be used on young people on community sentences or on bail, or for those in the second part of a Detention and Training Order (DTO). ISSP is multi-modal, including a variety of components such as assessment, close monitoring, education and training, tracking (regular contact), tagging and restorative justice. It is also highly intensive, combining supervision with surveillance in an attempt to ensure programme completion, and to bring structure to young people’s lives. The goal is to ensure that the risks young offenders pose are managed, and that their needs are met and continually reassessed. (excerpt)
Abrahamsen, Therese and van der Merwe, Hugo. Reconciliation through Amnesty? Amnesty Applicants' Views of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission
While much has been written about the TRC's amnesty process, this study seeks to address a serious gap in the research. Through an empirical evaluation of the perpetrators' own experiences of the amnesty process, this study addresses the need for a better understanding of how the amnesty process worked in practice, how it managed to draw perpetrators into applying for amnesty, how they felt about the process, how their lives were affected by the amnesty process, and whether and to what extent a public, conditional amnesty process served as a vehicle for achieving reconciliation between former perpetrators and survivors of gross human rights abuse and the reintegration of perpetrators into society. In order to complement this insider perspective of the amnesty process, this study also draws from interviews with former TRC staff and lawyers who were involved in every step of the amnesty process; from assisting applicants with their applications to representing them during the hearings. The aim of this report is both to inform further intervention with ex-combatants in South Africa, and to provide some insights that may guide other international efforts to engage perpetrators of human rights abuses in conditional amnesties, truth seeking, restorative justice and reconciliation processes. (excerpt)
Strang, Heather. What's happening at the Justice Research Consortium?
Everyone working in restorative justice in the UK will be pleased to hear of the level of government interest in RJ shown by the decision to fund substantial research into its effectiveness. The Home Office is concerned to find out more about the potential for RJ both in reducing reoffending, especially for serious adult offenders, and in giving victims a greater sense of satisfaction with the way crimes against them are dealt with. One of the research teams funded under this initiative is the Justice Research Consortium (JRC). (excerpt)
Brown, Louise. Mainstream or margin? The current use of family group conferences in child welfare practice in the UK
A decade has passed since family group conferences were initially introduced into the UK by Family Rights Group. Ten years on, this paper examines the extent to which family group conferences have developed and become embedded into current social work practice. Despite the initial interest by social work practitioners and the picture often painted of a growing radical movement, the degree to which family group conferencing has become part of mainstream practice has until now remained fairly anecdotal. A number of difficulties have been identified with implementing the model, including fitting it into an existing system and the challenge it poses to professionals to hand over power. Two surveys, the first undertaken in 1999 and the second in 2001, describe the current use of the model in the UK by Councils with Social Services Responsibilities (Councils). The surveys reveal the areas of practice within which family group conferences are being used, the size and capacity of projects and why some Councils have adopted the model whilst others remain hesitant. It concludes by considering why family group conferences remain on the margins of practice. Author's abstract.
Bazemore, Gordon. Reaction Essay: Whom and How Do We Reintegrate? Finding Community in Restorative Justice
Although this essay is by no means a criticism of the research, the question "who do we reintegrate" is of course a loaded one that also seems to raise other important policy, practice, and theoretical questions not easily answered by this study. First, little clarity or agreement in the field exists about the meaning and dimensions of "reintegration," although it is almost certainly a larger, more complex concept than would be implied by the absence of criminal behavior (Maruna, 2001). Second, is being referred to a neighborhood restorative program a good thing that implies a benefit to a young offender? If not, the question of implied bias in selection for this program seems moot, although the evidence provided from this research and at least one additional related study of restorative justice conferencing at the diversion level (McGarrell, 2001) suggests that there may be benefits to participation in such programs.i Finally, if the program, as these findings suggest, does reduce reoffending, why is this? Although logical connections between intervention and outcomes are seldom made explicit in most practice or evaluation research, it is important for policy aimed at replication to begin to speculate about the theoretical components that distinguish this restorative process from other diversion programs and from other restorative decision-making programs. The primary purpose of this response is to situate this research and its findings in a larger public policy context. I will focus primarily on the broader implications of these findings for assessing the strengths and limitations of both restorative and community justice policy and practice, especially as it is implemented in juvenile justice systems. (excerpt)
Rodriguez, Nancy. Restorative Justice, Communities, and Delinquency: Whom Do We Reintegrate?
Research Summary: Communities represent an important facet of restorative justice; yet few studies have empirically evaluated the influence that community characteristics have on reintegrative programs. In this study, I use official juvenile court data from an urban, metropolitan county in Arizona and Census data to examine how individual- and community-level data influence the selection of offenders to a restorative justice program. To examine the effectiveness of the restorative justice program and to determine if program impact varies by community, recidivism is modeled with individual- and community-level data. Findings indicate individual and community characteristics are important predictors of restorative justice program placement. Also, juveniles who successfully completed the restorative justice program were less likely to recidivate than were juveniles in a comparison group. Recidivism results show no variation of program impact across communities. Policy Implications: Study findings demonstrate the importance of incorporating community- level data in studies of restorative justice. Restorative justice programs must be sensitive to local, community characteristics and ensure that reintegration efforts do not exclude offenders in need. The successful reintegration process experienced by juveniles who participated in the restorative justice programs is clearly reflective of program effectiveness.
Shapland, Joanna and et al. Restorative Justice: An Independent Evaluation
We have been appointed by the Home Office to evaluate the three restorative justice schemes funded by them under the Crime Reduction Programme from mid-2001. For schemes funded by government, it is a requirement that there be an evaluation by a team of researchers who are entirely independent of the running of the schemes themselves. Hence the title of this talk: 'Restorative justice: an independent evaluation'. The three schemes, which I shall describe, are very different, but they share four key parameters, which make the task of running the schemes and our own task of evaluating them exciting, path-breaking and sometimes rather exasperating. (excerpt)
Behtz, Sarah Anne. Justice for All?: Victim Satisfaction with Restorative Justice Conferences
While the process of restorative justice is fairly new, several programs have been implemented globally and found to be effective in various aspects over the past 30 years. Very little empirical research has been gathered from these global programs though members of the criminal justice community as well as members of the general public have expressed interest in learning more about the programs and effectiveness and opinions of the programs. This study takes a closer look at what victims have expressed as being important to them regarding the criminal justice system and satisfaction with how their cases are handled in both traditional court proceedings as well as through restorative justice processes. Author's abstract.
Paulin, Judy and Lash, Barb and Kingi, Venezia. The Wanganui Community-Managed Restorative Justice Programme: An Evaluation
The Ministry of Justice, in consultation with the Wanganui providers, commissioned this evaluation of the Wanganui Community-Managed Restorative Justice Programme in 2003. The programme is funded by central government through the Crime Prevention Unit, Ministry of Justice. The programme was selected for evaluation because it was considered to be well managed and effective. The evaluation objectives were to: 1. describe the programme - its history, the context in which it operates, delivery, objectives and resources; 2. determine the effectiveness of the programme, in relation to its objectives; 3. contribute to the development of best practice principles for community-managed restorative justice programmes; and 4. describe the extent to which this programme has contributed to the further development of the partnership between government and communities. The extent to which the programme has developed its services to meet the needs of M�ori, Pacific, and other cultural groups was also to be examined. (excerpt)
Paulin, Judy and Lash, Barb and Huirama, Tautari and Kingi, Venezia. The Rotorua Second Chance Community-Managed Restorative Justice Programme: An Evaluation
The Ministry of Justice, in consultation with Mana Social Services, commissioned this evaluation of the Rotorua Second Chance Restorative Justice Programme in 2003. The programme is funded by central government through the Crime Prevention Unit, Ministry of Justice. The programme was selected for re-evaluation so that best practice principles for community-based restorative justice programmes utilising tikanga-based practices might be identified. The evaluation objectives were to: 1. describe the programme - its history, the context in which it operates, delivery, objectives and resources; 2. determine the effectiveness of the programme, in relation to its objectives; 3. contribute to the development of best practice principles for community-managed restorative justice programmes utilising tikanga-based practice; 4. describe the extent to which this programme has contributed to the further development of the partnership between government and communities. (excerpt)
Zemlyanska, Vira and Koval, Roman. Introducing Restorative Justice in the Ukrainian Justice System
The Ukrainian Centre for Common Ground is a non-governmental organization working to build capacity for constructive conflict resolution. Since 2003, it has been engaged in an initiative to introduce restorative justice into the Ukrainian justice system. The project includes training mediators in victim offender mediation and policy makers in restorative justice. Roman Koval and Vira Zemlyanska provide this update on the project's progress.
Umbreit, Mark S and Bazemore, Gordon. A Comparison of Four Restorative Conferencing Models by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
"This chapter focuses on four restorative conferencing models: victim-offender mediation, community reparative boards, family group conferencing, and circle sentencing. Although these four models by no means exhaust the possibilities for community involvement in decisions about how to respond to youth crime, the models do illustrate both the diversity and common themes apparent in what appears to be a new philosophy of citizen participation in sanctioning processes." (excerpt)
Cavanagh, Tom. Creating a Culture of Care in Schools Using Restorative Practices
We live in a moment in time that is profoundly affected by the shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, in 1999 and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In reaction to these tragic events and with a renewed focus on safety, schools in the United States and elsewhere have deepened their commitment to peacekeeping, based on stricter rules and harsher punishment, patterned after the punitive system of our courts. These get-tough policies include police presence in the schools, metal detectors, zero tolerance policies, student and locker searches, and drug and alcohol testing. As a result of these policies, we have criminalized our schools and put some students on a schoolhouse to jailhouse track. Dr. Wendy Drewery, Assistant Dean for Graduate Study in the School of Education at the University of Waikato in New Zealand, and her colleagues are leaders in New Zealand in implementing restorative justice practices in schools. Professor Drewery began her work in response to the overrepresentation of the Maori people in school suspensions. The "restorative practices" outlined in Professor Drewery's work are currently being implemented as part of the Restorative Practices in Schools Project in schools in New Zealand. Because the theory I created in my dissertation study is based on the same theory as Dr. Drewery's work, I will replicate my study in one or more of the New Zealand schools involved in her project. I am spending an academic year in the schools involved in the project as a Fulbright scholar to learn how these practices affect the culture of the schools. The purpose of this presentation is to present the highlights of a paper I will write outlining my original ethnographic study and the results of the replicated study to date. Abstract courtesy of the Centre for Justice and Peace Development, Massey University,
Maxwell, Gabrielle. Achieving Effective Outcomes in Youth Justice: Implications of new research for Principles, Policy and Practice
New research from New Zealand follows up the file outcomes over three years for 1003 young people aged 16 years who had family group conferences in 1998. Five hundred and twenty of them were interviewed. Observational data and interviews were collected from another 115 cases in 2001/2002. Findings are presented on the extent to which restorative goals have been implemented. Critical factors predicting outcomes are identified and the implications of these for policy and practice are discussed. The research demonstrates that the nature of the youth justice does affect critical outcomes for young people: both in terms of reducing offending and increasing the probability of other positive life outcomes. Restorative practices that include empowerment, the repair of harm and reintegrative outcomes make a positive difference while the extent of embeddedness in the criminal justice system, severe and retributive outcomes and stigmatic shaming have negative effects. There are also important findings for crime prevention that suggest the need to focus on support for families, the importance of educational qualifications and the need to respond effectively when children first come to the attention of the welfare and youth justice systems. Proposals are made for standards against which practice can be assessed. Abstract courtesy of the Centre for Justice and Peace Development, Massey University,
White, Linda Lou. Hope in Process: A Qualitative Study of Victim Offender Mediation/Dialogue in Texas
This qualitative case study explored the nature of the experience of victim-offender mediated dialogue (VOMD) in the state of Texas. The participants whose narratives were examined included the victims and offenders from four crimes of extreme violence and the staff of mediators who prepared each of these dyads for a face-to-face encounter. Analysis of the data revealed that the motivations for both victims and offenders were reciprocal. The victims usually wanted a chance to have the offenders acknowledge their pain, answer their questions, and express remorse for the violent act that took their loved one. The offenders wanted generally to offer the victims those same small comforts, and possibly, to regain some measure of self-respect by doing so. The ultimate goal for both groups was healing, and their motivations were basically related to a hope that propelled them forward to new ways of living with this past violence. The motivations for the mediators, including the volunteers, had to do with feeling called, as well as blessed, to do this kind of special work they believed made a difference in the world. Other findings included the nature of the process and how it works to provide the healing that the participants seek. I found that it works through the following: (1) a safe place; (2) the use of reflection and self-awareness; (3) empathy; (4) peace and reconciliation; and (5) spiritual transformation. The program was viewed through the lens of transformative learning as defined and theorized by Mezirow. Within the processes fostered by VOMD, I found a strong connection to Mezirow’s process of critical reappraisal of one’s beliefs and assumptions, and to the perspective transformation that he suggests may be possible. The primary perspective transformation that I saw was the new willingness on the part of both victim and offender to see the other’s basic worth as a human being; and this is the study’s key finding. Author's abstract.
Vieira, Tracey A. Do Emotions Play a Role in Young Offenders’ Suitability for Diversion to Victim-Offender Mediation?
The arousal of state shame and guilt following diversion to victim-offender mediation (VOM) or traditional alternative measures (AM) was evaluated within a sample of youths (N=32). The relationships between this emotional arousal, shame or guilt proneness, empathic orientation, and victim presence during sanctioning were also explored. Finally, an investigation of whether these individual emotional characteristics predict short-term, prosocial outcomes (i.e., satisfaction, positive attitude) was conducted. State guilt was significantly aroused among offenders diverted to VOM, however, only when a victim representative rather than the victim participated in mediation. Regression analyses demonstrated that pre-sanction guilt levels and cognitive empathic orientation significantly predicted the magnitude of guilt arousal, and in turn, guilt arousal predicted greater post-program satisfaction and positive attitude. These findings conflict with the perspective that shame arousal underlies the success of VOM and indicate a need for attention to how mediation differs according to victim versus victim representative involvement. Author's abstract.

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