Impact of Community Conferencing

Overview

Community Conferencing allows crime and conflict to serve as a stepping stone to building community.  Whether Community Conferencing is being utilized by the juvenile justice system, schools, courts, or neighborhoods, the result is the same: People in conflict come to understand each other better and find ways to repair the harm and move forward in a better way.

The impact is significant. Residents are empowered to resolve their own conflicts, victims have a voice in deciding outcomes, and citizens are directly engaged in public safety issues and are mobilized to find ways to build their communities based on relationship and accountability.

Immediate response

  • Community Conferencing can help resolve things in as few as two weeks.
  • Community Conferencing brings everyone together immediately after an incident, avoiding the sometimes lengthy wait for official action from courts or other institutions.

High Compliance / Accountability

  • Everyone affected by the conflict decides how to resolve things, therefore compliance with sanctions is extremely high.
  • 95% of the Community Conferences in Baltimore have resulted in a written agreement created by all participants, with over 95% compliance with those agreements.

Reduces Recidivism

  • A recent Maryland juvenile justice study showed that young offenders who participate in a Community Conference are 60% less likely to re-offend.

Reduces over-representation of people of color

  • Over 97% of the young offenders diverted from the juvenile justice system have been minorities, thereby providing youth of color with the same alternatives available to many Caucasian young offenders.

Improves School Culture

  • Students are held directly accountable for their harmful behavior.
  • Parents are included in deciding outcomes.
  • Administrators report that for the first time, previously ongoing and intractable fights among students are “quashed” through the use of Community Conferencing
  • The Daily Rap violence prevention tool developed by the Community Conferencing Center has been taught to over 1500 Baltimore City School Teachers.

Teachers using the Daily Rap report:

  • Better classroom behavior
  • Improved ability to handle disruptive behaviors
  • Stronger positive relationships between students
  • Far better communication and problem-solving among students

Community strengthening

  • Crime and conflict becomes a stepping stone to building a sense of community.
  • Over 18,000 Baltimore residents successfully resolved their own crimes and conflicts through Community Conferencing.
  • Those harmed are included in deciding outcomes, and report feeling that “justice was served.”