Indianapolis (IN) Family Group Conferencing Experiment

Evidence Rating:
Promising – One investigate Promising - One study

Program Goals/Target Population
The Indianapolis (Indiana) Family Group Conferencing Experiment, also famous as a Indianapolis Restorative Justice Conference Project, was a physic probity diversion module for young, first-time youthful offenders. The idea was to mangle a cycle of offending before it reached a theatre of repeat offending. The criteria used to establish eligibility for appearance in a devise compulsory that a youth:

  • Be no comparison than 14
  • Be a first-time delinquent (that is, no before adjudications)
  • Have committed a nonserious, pacifist offense
  • Have no other tentative charges
  • Admit shortcoming for a offense

The authorised charges enclosed assault, rapist mischief, unfinished conduct, shoplifting, and theft.

Program Theory
Family organisation conferencing is formed on beliefs of physic probity and draws on several criminological theories, including Braithwaite’s speculation of reintegrative degrading (1989). Restorative probity practices differ from normal probity routine in many ways. While normal courts take an adversarial approach, pivotal elements of physic probity practices embody village empowerment and appearance as good as a suggestive concentration on a plant (or victims) of a crime. Traditional courts are mostly criticized for ignoring a plant while last a punishment for a delinquent that does not indispensably have anything to do with a crime.

Program Components
Once a box was found to be authorised for a physic probity family organisation conference, it was reserved to a discussion coordinator who proceeded to hit a offender, his or her primogenitor (or parents), and a plant (or victims) to consider a eagerness of a parties to attend in a conference. A discussion was afterwards scheduled to move any celebration to a occurrence together to plead it.

The discussion generally enclosed not customarily a delinquent and plant though also a organisation of supporters. This typically concerned parents/guardians, siblings, grandparents, other relatives, friends, and neighbors. But it might have also enclosed teachers, jaunty coaches, and other critical total in a youth’s life. During a conference, a coordinator guided a youthful delinquent by a array of questions to interpret a events that led to a incident. Questions such as how a girl was involved, what a girl was meditative about during a time, and whom a girl thinks a offending behavior affected were dictated to assistance a girl accept shortcoming for a behavior. The questions also were designed to assistance a girl know how a function has influenced a victim, a families, and a community.

After everybody has had an event to speak, a youthful was asked if there is anything he or she would like to contend to a victim. It was customarily during this indicate that a youthful would apologize to a plant and to a group. The organisation afterwards began a routine of similar to a devise that would concede a delinquent to correct a mistreat that was caused by a crime. This agreement might have enclosed restitution, village service, or other elements to residence a specifics of this case. The final agreement that outlines a group’s recommendations was prepared and sealed by all a participants.

Evaluation Outcomes

top borderStudy 1
Time to Recidivism

McGarrell and Hipple (2007) found that only reduction than half of a Indianapolis (IN) Family Group Conferencing (FGC) Experiment investigate representation (49 percent) survived until a finish of a 2-year follow-up period. Although a larger suit of a FGC diagnosis organisation (51.8 percent) than a control representation (46.1 percent) survived, a disproportion was not significant.

A second research regulating a life tables found a poignant disproportion in a accumulative suit of any representation surviving. While both samples unsuccessful during a same rate during a initial 12 weeks, a control representation hereafter unsuccessful during a faster rate, generally in weeks 14–32. The outcome of a FGC diagnosis module was many poignant in weeks 13–26. During this period, 8 percent of a FGC diagnosis organisation was rearrested, compared with 15 percent of a control group—a disproportion that was significant.

Additional research found that assignment to a initial organisation decreased a jeopardy rate of disaster by 17.4 percent. When race, age, and offense form were tranquil for, however, a attribute between organisation assignment and risk of disaster was no longer significant.

FGC diagnosis participants were significantly some-more expected than control organisation participants to finish their program. Overall, a reduce risk of disaster for all participants was compared with being arrested by a metropolitan military officer (as against to a propagandize officer), with completing a diversion program, and with being younger.

Number of Rearrests
The research of occurrence rates indicated that juveniles in a FGC diagnosis organisation had, on average, fewer rearrests than juveniles in a control group. The diagnosis organisation had an normal of 1.29 rearrests during a follow-up period, compared with a normal of 1.67 rearrests for a control group. Additional research showed that being in a FGC diagnosis organisation significantly decreased a normal series of rearrests by a cause of 0.77. Put another way, juveniles in a FGC diagnosis organisation have an occurrence rearrest rate 23 percent reduce than juveniles in a control group.

bottom border

Evaluation Methodology

top borderStudy 1
McGarrell and Hipple’s 2007 research of a Indianapolis (IN) Family Group Conferencing Experiment used an initial pattern that authorised for comparisons among victims, offending youths, and kin concerned in conferences and those concerned in other court-ordered diversion programs. Court intake officers screened youths for eligibility. Eligible youths were comparison for a module by a pointless assignment procedure.

This 2007 investigate extends a follow-up duration of an progressing investigate by McGarrell and colleagues (2000). Beginning Sept. 1, 1997, 782 youthful offenders participated in a experiment. Of these, 400 youths were reserved to a Family Group Conferencing (FGC) diagnosis organisation and 382 youths were reserved to a control group. Three hundred twenty-two youths finished a FGC diagnosis program, and 233 control youths finished a reserved diversion module (which enclosed teen court, a shoplifting program, village service, and victim–offender mediation). All youths were enclosed in a analysis.

The groups were allied on gender, initial detain type, and impediment agency. However, a suit of nonwhite representation members was aloft in a control organisation (63.6 percent) than in a FGC diagnosis organisation (57 percent)—a disproportion that approached significance. The normal age of offenders in a FGC diagnosis organisation was 12.49, compared with 12.71 for a control group. The FGC diagnosis organisation also had a wider age range, with offenders younger than in a control group.

The outcome of a FGC module on time until disaster was evaluated essentially by presence analysis, that examines a attribute among delinquent characteristics, involvement type, offense-related variables, and disaster (or time until initial arrest). Life tables and Cox retrogression were used to control presence analyses. The disproportion in jeopardy rates (which is a risk of disaster during a specific indicate in time) during several points in a follow-up was also examined. Finally, a count retrogression indication of occurrence was conducted to consider a occurrence of reoffending. Each girl was followed for a 2-year period, commencement during a youth’s subordinate detain date.

bottom border


top borderbottom border

Implementation Information

top borderbottom border

Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

top borderThese sources were used in a growth of a module profile:

Study 1
McGarrell, Edmund F., and Natalie Kroovand Hipple. 2007. “Family Group Conferencing and Reoffending Among First-Time Juvenile Offenders: The Indianapolis Experiment.” Justice Quarterly 24(2):221–46.

bottom border

Additional References

top borderThese sources were used in a growth of a module profile:

Braithwaite, John. 1989. Crime, Shame, and Reintegration. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University.

McGarrell, Edmund F. 2001. “Restorative Justice Conferences as an Early Response to Young Offenders.” Juvenile Justice Bulletin. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

McGarrell, Edmund F., Kathleen Olivares, Kay Crawford, and Natalie Kroovand Hipple. 2000. Returning Justice to a Community: The Indianapolis Juvenile Restorative Justice Experiment. Indianapolis, Ind.: Hudson Institute, Crime Control Policy Center.

Restorative Justice Conferences as an Early Response to Young Offenders: Final Report on a Indianapolis Experiment, Technical Report

bottom border