Reducing Recidivism: Re-Entry Mediation
Re-entry mediation responds to the well established need for individuals returning from incarceration to have positive relationships with family and friends in the community. Through re-entry mediation, inmates have a chance to mediate with family members before release, to address conflicts and collaboratively plan for the transition to the community.
Participation in re-entry mediation has a significant impact on the likelihood that an individual will be arrested post-release. After controlling for key factors that may otherwise explain this finding (e.g., length of criminal career, gender, age, race, days since release), the predicted probability of arrest for those who participate in mediation is 21% vs. 31% for those who do not participate in mediation (the control group). The number of sessions is also a significant factor – with each additional mediation session, the probability of arrest is reduced by an additional 6%.
Re-entry mediation is available in most state prisons in Maryland and in 11 local detention centers.
For interviews with mediation participants, recidivism reports, success stories and more about re-entry mediation, click the button below.
Child Access Mediation - Family Court Partnership
Issues of custody, visitation, access, and child rearing once a couple has broken up are consistently some of the most adversarial disputes society faces. They also produce emotional trauma for the children involved as they either get caught up in the parents’ conflict, or are not able to see one parent. In order to ensure access to justice for all Maryland families, CMM works with the Maryland Judiciary’s Division of Family Administration to ensure that low income families involved in contested custody disputes have access to high quality mediation services. This allows parents who are in conflict to work collaboratively to develop plans for how they will parent their children. CMM supports the development of partnerships between centers and their local family court, and provides advanced training and mentorship of volunteer mediators for the 11 jurisdictions in which the program is operational.
Conflict Resolution & Restorative Approaches in Schools
Conflict Management Training
Several of the education programs supported by CMM were listed in the Commission on the School-to-Prison Pipeline report as restorative interventions in schools. This includes mediation, conflict management training, and dialogue circles. Mediation centers across the state are working closely with their school systems to implement these programs.
Many centers have created and implemented programs that address the need for immediate conflict resolution resources in schools. In these programs, mediators work with students, teachers and parents to reduce violence and resolve conflict by providing a peaceful, collaborative problem-solving process. Students are referred for mediation services by school staff and frequently request services themselves.
Attendance mediation responds to the challenges of truancy by bringing together parents and teachers to identify underlying issues and develop a collaborative plan to address these issues. Emerging research confirms that good attendance is critical to academic success. Students who are truant are more likely to drop out, become involved with the juvenile justice system, and become victims of crime. Moreover, patterns of truancy begin early and are highly predictive of future academic and social struggles.
The Attendance Mediation Initiative aims to improve attendance by building communication between the family and school through mediation and is unique among existing truancy programs in the State of Maryland. First, it is an early intervention initiative, responding to the increasing evidence that repeated chronic truancy begins during a child’s elementary years and that truancy during one academic year is highly predictive of future attendance problems. Second, the program also addresses chronic tardiness—another indicator of future truancy—which no other initiatives address. During attendance mediations, the mediator works with families and school representatives to identify and address the complex factors that cause truancy for that particular child. Families are often made aware of resources available to support them within the school and community.
Fosters community building, problem-solving, and authentic dialogue. The Circles provide a safe and secure space where participants such as students, teachers, parent volunteers, and aides feel heard and understood. Participants gather in a circle facing each other to discover solutions through collaboration and understanding, removing barriers such as set assumptions and groupthink. Circles give a sense of empowerment and creativity while promoting habits of respect, responsibility,
Substance Abuse Recovery - Drug Court Partnership
CMM provides conflict management and communication skills training to individuals involved in Drug Court Programs. This training responds to the need to address communication, conflict, and relationships as part of a comprehensive response within an addiction recovery program. The eight hour training occurs in two parts: an initial six hours of training, and a follow-up training of two hours. In the initial training, drug court participants build community and trust as they learn together. They are able to talk about past and current conflicts, how conflicts impact their recovery process, and to learn and practice skills that will help them manage conflict peacefully. The follow-up training is scheduled at least a month after the initial training. The goal is to give trainees time to use and experience the skills in their lives. In the follow-up training, drug court participants discuss challenges and successes in using these new conflict management techniques. This training gives them a refresher of the listening skills, which helps them adjust how they use the skills to fit their personalities.
During the training, drug court participants have an opportunity to meet with a case manager from the local community mediation center. Mediation is offered to resolve issues with family, housemates, or any other individual with whom the drug court participant believes they need to resolve conflict.
Special Education - IEP Meeting Facilitation
CMM centers provide independent facilitators to support effective communication in potentially challenging Individualized Education Program (IEP) Meetings. By providing facilitation as an early intervention, this service supports schools and parents to work collaboratively as they build plans for children receiving special education services.
CMM works with the Maryland State Department of Education, local centers, and local school systems to provide these services in 11 jurisdictions. Evaluation data from FY13 finds that 68% of participants agree that through the facilitated meeting process they were able to understand other people on the IEP team better; and 66% agree that through the facilitated meeting process other people on the IEP team understood them better.
CMM also provides communication and conflict management training for special education staff, students receiving special education services, and their parents.
Veteran and Military Family Outreach
In response to research identifying the stress of deployment on military families, CMM has developed concerted outreach efforts to Veterans and Military Families. Mediation can assist military families to work through logistical challenges caused by multiple deployments, as well as to communicate about emotional challenges from the trauma of experiencing war.
Police Community Dialog
Police Complaint Mediation
Baltimore Community Mediation City offers Police Complaint Mediation services. Residents and officers are now able to have face to face dialogue about difficult interactions, through this program. Pictured below, 15 mediators and 5 police officers attended the 2-Day, advanced Police Complaint Mediation training provided by CMM. Police officers completed the training so that they would be ambassadors for the program, within the Baltimore City Police Department.
Watch CMM’s webinar for the Justice Research and Statistics Association. It covers police complaint mediation, police youth dialogue circles, and collaborative dialogue for policy change.
CMM has worked with the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission to establish best practices for Police Complaint Mediation Programs. To view these standards and the reference guide, visit the website:
Police Youth Dialog Circle
In Baltimore, Hagerstown, and Takoma Park, CMM has been supporting community mediation centers to provide an opportunity for youth and police to have open, honest, and often hard conversations… in an effort to get to know each other as humans.
Police Community Policy Making
CMM supports mediation centers in Maryland in building relationships with local government and law making agencies.
Read how community mediation fits into conversations about community safety and alternatives to policing.
Read the HuffPost article “Should I Call The Police If I Have A Noise Complaint?”