Juvenile Victim-Offender Mediation

by Center for Conflict Resolution
Juvenile Victim-Offender Mediation
May 2, 2017

Stolen Money

Michael and his family were sent to family mediation at Center for Conflict Resolution after Michael was arrested for stealing money from his father. Originally, Michael and his father, David, planned to attend the mediation, but in the end David was unable to participate.

Michael arrived at the mediation with Anita, who was more like a stepmother to Michael since she and his father had a child together (Michael’s half-brother). Although she was not biologically related to him, Michael had been living with her for the past two years and the two spoke easily. At first, Anita was reluctant to participate in the mediation, stating that she did not think they could make much progress without David.

Once the mediator explained the purpose of the mediation (to have a productive conversation) and that there was no pressure for them to reach any kind of agreement, Anita was quick to open up about her feelings concerning Michael. She said he had been living in a situation where he was forced to act like an adult for nearly all of his life and she was happy to take him in and provide for him in order to let him “be a kid.” Anita was not mad that he stole the money from his father. She was disappointed that he had taken the money, but she acknowledged that he had spent it responsibly, buying himself some new clothes and shoes that fit and helping pay for the family to have a Thanksgiving dinner. Michael agreed, saying that he only took the money because he felt it was rightfully owed to him, since his father’s duty was to provide for him. Anita expressed her wish that Michael would talk to her and David if he needed things like clothes and new shoes, instead of resorting to theft.

Further discussion with the mediator revealed deeper issues for the parties. It was very important to Anita that Michael learn how to be a kid and that too much was put on him too early. Before Anita had come into his life, Michael was responsible for his younger siblings, often getting them ready for school and making sure they had dinner. Anita was concerned that Michael tried to take on too much responsibility and was very concerned about the Michael’s safety, especially when he goes outside of the house. It was very important to her that he call her and let her know when he is going out so she can know whether to be worried if he is not home. In fact, on the day he was arrested he did not tell her he was leaving the house. Michael mentioned that he doesn’t tell her because she will say no and she says she says no because she is angry that he lies to her.

Anita expressed to the mediator privately that she wanted Michael to know the world is not against him and learns how to depend on others. It was also very important to her that he get re-enrolled in high school. She revealed to the mediator that she was planning to re-enroll Michael in high school the following day. She knew Michael was ready to go back because he approached her on his own about a potential school he found.

When the mediator met with Michael, he revealed the difficulty of his prior living situations and said he liked living with Anita. Michael talked to the mediator about his future and acknowledged that he was concerned for himself if he did not find a way to go back to school.

When the mediator brought the parties back together they discussed the possibility of writing down an agreement for their goals going forward. Both parties were happy about this idea and the parties were quick to agree in a plan for Michael to be re-enrolled in school. Anita agreed to help Michael with enrollment so that he could meet his goals and Michael agreed to let Anita know when he would be out of the house so that she would not worry about him.

As they were leaving Anita said she was so happy to learn that Michael was serious about getting back in school and that even though she was skeptical about the mediation at first, she was really very happy that they came.

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Center for Conflict Resolution

Location: Chicago, IL - USA
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Project Leader:
Cassandra Lively
Chicago, IL United States
$57,173 raised of $75,000 goal
 
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