A recent post by Hofstra’s Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation caught my attention. They have recently published a tremendously useful source book entitled Transformative Mediation: A Sourcebook. I would invite you to investigate the transformative model first put forward by Folger and Bush many years ago. I believe that what it shares in common with restorative justice is the awareness of and respect for the integrity of the individuals who are in conflict not necessarily due to a problem needing to be solved but a context to be understood. How often do we go right to the ‘fix it’ model without giving people a chance to tell their stories with respect, without interruption, and taken seriously. As RJ continues to mature and transform I think it is worth our attention to think about how we move beyond victim-offender mediation and understand that, at root, we are about peacemaking and community. What do you think?
What place does transformative mediation have in Court-connected programs?
“More than 1000 cases are referred to the Mediation Center of Dutchess County each year from courts and similar agencies. In one recent year, more than 600 cases were business disputes such as landlord/tenant and consumer/merchant issues referred from twelve local courts. More than 180 cases of child custody/ visitation/ support issues between parents or extended family were referred from Family Court; and Supreme Court has referred adult guardianship cases…. Transformative mediation is used in all of these cases. Negotiating the transition to transformative practice in courts came down to explaining what we would do that would meet the courts’ own goals.
“We explained ’empowerment’ as helping people become clear about their situation so that decisions could be made. ‘Recognition’ was explained as understanding the other person’s point of view. We talked about mediation as a ‘conversation’ between parties. ‘Changing interaction’ meant that decisions could be made and next steps could be taken because something had changed between the parties. These explanations were helpful to the courts because these goals were not inconsistent with their own. Transformative values are present — in the work that we do and in the relationships that have been fostered.”
I would urge us all to explore the possibilities of who we are, where we’ve come from and to consider the possibilities of approach crime, conflict and dispute resolution from an integrative framework.
As always your comments are welcomed!
what are the possibilities of an integrative framework?