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The Erie County Juvenile Court implemented its Juvenile Victim-Offender Mediation Program in May 1996. Mediation is a method of alternative dispute resolution that allows parties to discuss interests and arrive at possible solutions to the problem. Parties meet with a court mediator who assists with the process.

The Mediation Program considers and accepts all levels of offenses. Offenders and victims are contacted and offered the opportunity to participate in the program. They are interviewed individually and the program is explained in detail. If they decide to participate, they are given the chance to state their view of the situation. A date is then scheduled to bring both parties together for the mediation.

When the parties reach an agreement through mediation, it is drawn up in a contract and signed by all parties. If the parties do not come to an agreement, the case will be referred to the Court for a final course of action. By coming to an agreement, the offender has the opportunity to have his/her complaint expunged after sixty days providing he/she follows the contract and does not incur any new charges during that time.

Complaints referred to the Mediation Program included: disorderly conduct, criminal damaging, criminal trespassing, theft, domestic violence, assault and unruly/incorrigible behaviors. Charges or disputes are referred through the Intake Department and by other court staff.

To date complaints referred to the Mediation Program resulted in a 97% success rate.