As result of growing nationwide concern regarding the needs of crime victims and inadequate/ineffective sanctioning of their offenders, programs providing victim-offender mediation (VOM) have developed across the country. These programs facilitate a face-to-face meeting between the victim and offender in the presence of a trained mediator, providing an opportunity for questions about the offenses to be addressed, feelings to be expressed, and restitution agreements to be developed.
In this paper I first consider VOM's theoretical basis and its practical applications. I then review and evaluate the available empirical evidence supporting the use of VOM, and the criticisms leveled against the use of such mediations. Ultimately, I conclude that although victim-offender mediation is not without shortcomings, it is a legitimate and positive corollary to the American criminal justice system.