Conference Community Sentencing for Juveniles

Conference Community Sentencing refers to a prearranged discussion involving the perpetrators of crimes, the victims, and the families of the two groups, where they evaluate and handle the effects of crime and come up with the best method to remedy the situation (OConnell, Wachtel,  Wachtel, 1999).Conferencing schemes engage the victim and the perpetrator. The purpose of the scheme is to make amends or compensation to the victim. This kind of strategy has been commended, especially as a rehabilitation process. The juveniles are made to face the consequences of their crimes are made to participate in making amends. At the same time, the scenes have been criticised for their lack of enough technical safeguards.

Does conferencing community sentence for juveniles effect victims and reduce recidivism
The critics argue that the schemes are not always open to inspection, accountability and evaluation. This research is aimed to finding out whether conferencing community sentence for juveniles effect victims and reduce recidivism (Umbreit, Coates  Vos, 2001). Juvenile criminal actions have for a long time been a problem in the society. These crimes might seem minor, but they come up with great social and economic costs. Most of the strategies developed to handle this problem are aimed at reducing recidivism, and thus reducing the economic burden that results from these crimes. Finding out whether conferencing is effective is very important to the justice system. If conferencing schemes are found to be effective in reducing recidivism, then it can be very significant in the justice system. The aim of the system is employing the strategy that offers the best results in reducing crime (Umbreit, Coates  Vos, 2001).

Four myths of youth restorative justice conferencing is an article by Hilary Linton relating to the use of conferencing in juvenile justice. In his research, Linton provides four arguments that different people hold as far as conferencing is concerned. He has argued that there is a group that claims that conferencing does nothing in reducing recidivism. There is yet another that claims that the program does not gain any support from the victims. The third group claims that the program is effective only for the minor crimes. The last argument is that the program does not provide adequate deterrence value to juvenile perpetrators as a whole. All these arguments are important to the study as they offer significant argument in determining whether conferencing is effective in reducing recidivism or not. In his research Linton investigates each of the four myths to find out the extent to which each is true (Linton, n.d).

Restorative justice dialogue the impact of mediation and conferencing on juvenile recidivism is an article written by William Bradshaw and David Roseborough. The authors define what restorative approaches are employed in handling juvenile crimes. The articles mostly centre on restorative justice where conferencing falls. According to the authors, most of the researches they have analysed reveal a positive impact on satisfaction in the use of mediation programs between the offenders and the victims. This is important to the research that is on the impact of conferencing in reducing recidivism (Bradshaw  Roseborough, 2005).

The research by William Bradshaw and David Roseborough revealed that as long as all the four principles given are fulfilled, then conferencing is likely to be very effective. The first Principle is that the family of the offender is handled with respect and that the aim of the process should be on strengthening the family links. The second one is that power must be distributed to all the participating parties. The third one is that the schemes must be culturally sensitive and deferential to families. The last one is that both the offenders and the victims should be actively involved in the process. The literature study revealed about 26 of reduction in recidivism (Bradshaw  Roseborough, 2005). In Lintons article there is a study in Australia that is directly related to conferencing sentencing. The research in Australia revealed that conferencing was somewhat successful in reducing recidivism especially for offenders of the more serious crimes. In another study in Canada in 2001, where the efficiency of 35 restorative schemes was investigated realised positive results concerning victim fulfilment, amends, compliance and recidivism. The groups that participated in the restorative program were seen to be successful in keeping away from the crimes. Results from both studies have revealed that juveniles who feel that the system has treated them fairly are the ones who are more likely to obey it (Linton, n.d).

The purpose of Lintons study was aimed at proving or disproving the myths that have been put forward by various researchers. The studies that this writer carried out are applicable and significant to his objective. He tried as much as possible to come up with researched evidence to prove his hypothesis. Linton tries very much to cover the entire concept in his research questions of his research. The main issue with his research is that it does not cover conferencing as a separate entity from restorative justice. The researcher should also have carried out more research from primary data. One of the greatest strength in this research is the analysis of different studies with the aim of comparing the results (Linton, n.d). William Bradshaw and David Roseborough also covered the concepts of their research fairly well, but just as Linton, they did not research thoroughly on conferencing as an independent entity. This could have provided more applicable results. They also did not do much in primary research (Bradshaw  Roseborough, 2005).  

For both articles the researchers are not specific. They have generalised their studies on restorative justice system. There is nothing specific on conferencing sentencing. The articles would have provided better results if they had dealt entirely with conferencing. Due to the fact that the researches are generally on Restorative justice, it can be argued that the results that the authors provide are not entirely accurate as it concerns conferencing. The articles reviewed reveal the fact that conferencing is effective in preventing recidivism. However as already evident from the review, this is possible only in certain conditions.


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