Bethlehem Police Family Group Conferencing Project
An Effective Practice
This practice has been Archived and is no longer maintained.
The Bethlehem (Pa.) Police Family Group Conferencing Project is a restorative justice program designed to deal more effectively with young first-time offenders by diverting them from court and involving their extended families and victims in group conferences. The cases deemed eligible for the program are property crimes such as retail and other thefts, criminal mischief and trespassing, and violent crimes including threats, harassment, disorderly conduct, and simple assaults. Offenders who previously had been involved with the juvenile probation system were excluded from the study, as were felonies, drug/alcohol crimes, sex offenses, weapons offenses, and cases in which there was no direct victim.
Goal / Mission
The goal of this program is to divert young first-time offenders from court and into conferences where they can negotiate solutions with their families and their victims.
Results / Accomplishments
The evaluation used a randomized experimental design and determined that violent offenders in the treatment group were significantly less likely to be rearrested in a 12-month period than violent offenders in the other two groups. Researchers found that juveniles in the decline group had the highest rates of rearrest. There was no treatment effect for property offenders.
About this Promising Practice
- Primary Contact
- No current contact information available
Public Safety / Corrections
Public Safety / Police & Fire Services
- International Institute for Restorative Practices
- The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's Model Programs Guide (MPG)
- Date of publication
- Bethlehem, PA
- For more details
- Target Audience
- Children, Teens