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Victim offender mediation

Juvenile Justice
Benefit-cost methods last updated December 2018.  Literature review updated April 2012.
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In this broad grouping of programs, the underlying characteristic is that the victim and the offender sit down together with a trained mediator in order to determine appropriate restitution for the harm done. The intervention is also sometimes referred to as family group conferencing. The types of offenders, criminal justice setting, and degree of support to the victim and/or offender vary, but typically mediation or conferencing is done in one meeting.
The estimates shown are present value, life cycle benefits and costs. All dollars are expressed in the base year chosen for this analysis (2017). The chance the benefits exceed the costs are derived from a Monte Carlo risk analysis. The details on this, as well as the economic discount rates and other relevant parameters are described in our Technical Documentation.
Benefit-Cost Summary Statistics Per Participant
Benefits to:
Taxpayers $1,078 Benefits minus costs $2,833
Participants $153 Benefit to cost ratio $5.52
Others $2,042 Chance the program will produce
Indirect $186 benefits greater than the costs 76 %
Total benefits $3,459
Net program cost ($626)
Benefits minus cost $2,833
1In addition to the outcomes measured in the meta-analysis table, WSIPP measures benefits and costs estimated from other outcomes associated with those reported in the evaluation literature. For example, empirical research demonstrates that high school graduation leads to reduced crime. These associated measures provide a more complete picture of the detailed costs and benefits of the program.

2“Others” includes benefits to people other than taxpayers and participants. Depending on the program, it could include reductions in crime victimization, the economic benefits from a more educated workforce, and the benefits from employer-paid health insurance.

3“Indirect benefits” includes estimates of the net changes in the value of a statistical life and net changes in the deadweight costs of taxation.
Detailed Monetary Benefit Estimates Per Participant
Benefits from changes to:1 Benefits to:
Taxpayers Participants Others2 Indirect3 Total
Crime $972 $0 $2,004 $488 $3,464
Labor market earnings associated with high school graduation $87 $191 $89 $0 $367
Health care associated with educational attainment $39 ($11) ($42) $19 $5
Costs of higher education ($19) ($28) ($8) ($9) ($65)
Adjustment for deadweight cost of program $0 $0 $0 ($312) ($312)
Totals $1,078 $153 $2,042 $186 $3,459
Detailed Annual Cost Estimates Per Participant
Annual cost Year dollars Summary
Program costs $565 2010 Present value of net program costs (in 2017 dollars) ($626)
Comparison costs $0 2010 Cost range (+ or -) 10 %
The per-participant cost estimate for victim offender mediation was based on a weighted average of the costs reported in the literature reviewed for this meta-analysis. We also received a cost estimate from the victim offender mediation program in Clark County Washington. Our final cost estimate is the average of these two costs. The cost includes staff time, benefits, and volunteer time.
The figures shown are estimates of the costs to implement programs in Washington. The comparison group costs reflect either no treatment or treatment as usual, depending on how effect sizes were calculated in the meta-analysis. The cost range reported above reflects potential variation or uncertainty in the cost estimate; more detail can be found in our Technical Documentation.
Estimated Cumulative Net Benefits Over Time (Non-Discounted Dollars)
The graph above illustrates the estimated cumulative net benefits per-participant for the first fifty years beyond the initial investment in the program. We present these cash flows in non-discounted dollars to simplify the “break-even” point from a budgeting perspective. If the dollars are negative (bars below $0 line), the cumulative benefits do not outweigh the cost of the program up to that point in time. The program breaks even when the dollars reach $0. At this point, the total benefits to participants, taxpayers, and others, are equal to the cost of the program. If the dollars are above $0, the benefits of the program exceed the initial investment.

Meta-analysis is a statistical method to combine the results from separate studies on a program, policy, or topic in order to estimate its effect on an outcome. WSIPP systematically evaluates all credible evaluations we can locate on each topic. The outcomes measured are the types of program impacts that were measured in the research literature (for example, crime or educational attainment). Treatment N represents the total number of individuals or units in the treatment group across the included studies.

An effect size (ES) is a standard metric that summarizes the degree to which a program or policy affects a measured outcome. If the effect size is positive, the outcome increases. If the effect size is negative, the outcome decreases.

Adjusted effect sizes are used to calculate the benefits from our benefit cost model. WSIPP may adjust effect sizes based on methodological characteristics of the study. For example, we may adjust effect sizes when a study has a weak research design or when the program developer is involved in the research. The magnitude of these adjustments varies depending on the topic area.

WSIPP may also adjust the second ES measurement. Research shows the magnitude of some effect sizes decrease over time. For those effect sizes, we estimate outcome-based adjustments which we apply between the first time ES is estimated and the second time ES is estimated. We also report the unadjusted effect size to show the effect sizes before any adjustments have been made. More details about these adjustments can be found in our Technical Documentation.

Meta-Analysis of Program Effects
Outcomes measured Treatment age No. of effect sizes Treatment N Adjusted effect sizes(ES) and standard errors(SE) used in the benefit - cost analysis Unadjusted effect size (random effects model)
First time ES is estimated Second time ES is estimated
ES SE Age ES SE Age ES p-value
Crime 17 7 1691 -0.054 0.058 19 -0.054 0.058 29 -0.069 0.224

Citations Used in the Meta-Analysis

Luke, G., & Lind, B. (2002). Reducing juvenile crime: Conferencing versus court (Crime and Justice Bulletin: Contemporary Issues in Crime and Justice No. 69). Sydney, New South Wales, Australia: New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.

McCold, P., & Wachtel, B. (1998). Restorative policing experiment: The Bethlehem Police Family Group Conferencing Project. Pipersville, PA: Community Service Foundation.

McGarrell, E.F., & Hipple, N.K. (2007). Family group conferencing and re-offending among first-time juvenile offenders: The Indianapolis experiment. Justice Quarterly, 24(2), 221-246.

Schneider, A.L. (1986). Restitution and recidivism rates of juvenile offenders: Results from four experimental studies. Criminology, 24(3), 533-552.

Shapland, J., Atkinson, A., Atkinson, H., Dignan, J., Edwards, L., Hibbert, J., . . . Sorsby, A. (2008). Does restorative justice affect reconviction?: The fourth report from the evaluation of three schemes (Ministry of Justice Research Series). Sheffield, United Kingdom: University of Sheffield, Centre for Criminological Research.

Strang, H., Sherman, L., Slothower, M., Woods, D.J., Barnes, G. (2015). Race and restorative justice: Preliminary report on 15-year followup of 3 RCTs, subject to further correction. A presentation to the Stockholm Criminology Symposium.