Hungarian vs. American mediators and how to make communities more resilient
This article is related directly to the First European Conference on Law Enforcement and Public Health (LEPH) held in Umea, Sweden in May 2023.
Keywords:Restorative justice, mediation, alternative conflict resolution, Hungary, Indiana
Restorative justice practices are used in a wide array of criminal offence cases globally as it puts the need of victims and the community at the centre of the proceedings and focuses on repair and rehabilitation rather than judgement and punishment.
This study focuses on the different experiences of mediators in Hungary and in Bloomington, Indiana, United States. Two local government offices in Hungary and a non-profit organization, called Community Justice and Mediation Center (CJAM) were selected for this study. Six Hungarian and five American mediators from the local government offices and CJAM were interviewed in person and online.
Analyzing the interviews, we find that there are fundamental differences between the definitions, legislation, and the practices used in the two jurisdictions. The training of mediators is found to be similar in both countries but the way restorative practices are used is different. The system in Bloomington allows the process to be more flexible whilst in Hungary, the high caseloads and strict timeframes of the prosecutor’s office demand that cases be very quick and efficient. This is likely the reason why at CJAM, co-mediation is the norm, with at least two but sometimes three or four facilitators working on a case, while in Hungary co-mediation only happens in the most complex cases.
However, it is apparent that the goal of mediation and restorative justice meetings is the same in both Hungary and Bloomington: to repair the harms and to help build a better community.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2023 Schmidt, L.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Copyright of any article published in the Journal of CSWB is retained by the Author(s). Authors grant the Journal a License to Publish their article upon acceptance. Articles published in the Journal are distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 license. For commercial re-use, please contact SG Publishing Inc. (email@example.com).