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Mediation and Arbitration as a Civil Alternative to the Criminal Justice System - An Overview and Legal Analysis

NCJ Number
American University Law Review Volume: 29 Issue: 1 Dated: (Fall 1979) Pages: 17-81
P R Rice
Date Published
65 pages
This paper presents an overview and legal analysis of mediation and arbitration programs as an alternative to the criminal justice system in resolving disputes.
Burgeoning caseloads coupled with procedural delays have been major factors in reducing the effectiveness of the criminal justice system as a vehicle for resolving disputes. Mediation and arbitration programs can help relieve some of the debilitating pressures on the criminal justice system. Mediation programs provide a neutral person to assist the accused and the alleged victim in arriving at a mutually agreeable solution to their dispute. Arbitration programs provide THAT, if the parties fail to reach a settlement, the arbitrator has the authority, consented to beforehand by the parties involved, to impose a solution. Although such programs vary substantially in their structure and in the types of disputes handled, they generally follow the same procedure for acquiring the consent of the disputing parties shortly after arrest and of deferring the prosecution for a period, pending an attempt to resolve the problems. Mediation/arbitration programs emphasize the personal responsibility of each party rather than the narrow assessment of legal fault. Catharsis is sought through the supervised confrontation of parties. Although not a panacea, mediation AND arbitration OFFER the potential for providing more meaningful and lasting solutions to ongoing disputes in a more efficient and economical fashion. Due process issues are prevalent throughout the programs, but they can be avoided by using minimal care in structuring the programs around identifiable goals and resources. Footnotes are provided.