LIS - Library & Information Science

back to main page
back to main page
back to main page
back to main page
back to main page

Mediation: Conflict Resolution and Restorative Justice

I spent a couple of years immediately after graduating from Evergreen working for a non-profit that tried to participate in our county justice system using the principles of "Restorative Justice".

What that meant was that I ran a criminal mediation program that contracted with King County Juvenile Court. My only experience with non-profits prior to that was as a manager for a local food co-operative, PCC. Retail with a conscience. This was a different animal altogether.

Our agency was painfully small, and funded through a single government contract. The agency flourished in the years of experimenting with alternatives to incarceration for youth, and never developed any evidence that the service we offered had outcomes that were meaningful. The process we offered was mediation, but not agreement-driven mediation. The model is called transformative medation, it is based on deep communication skills, listening and reframing.

In a classic case of ideational organization run by non-social science people, the project died. I have a lot to say about that, both organizationally, and from a theoretical & research-driven perspective, but this isn't the place for that article.

At the mediation agency I trained mediators, developed all of our education and outreach materials (including a website made in Publisher circa year 2000!), worked closely with the people at juvenile court (intervention specialists and restitution officers mostly, judges occasionally), managed a highly trained & capable pool of 40 mediators, kept our agency involved with national and international organizations, and began the arduous journey to being certified as a mediator.