Conflict Intervention as Crime Prevention

Report Author

Justin R. Corbett

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Table of Contents

Categories of Impact

Conflict-assistive interventions reduce crime. Most obviously, offenders who receive conflict skills training, conflict coaching, mediation, mentoring, Peacemaking, or other restorative justice intervention will engage in fewer subsequent criminal activities than those receiving traditional interventions such as police admonishment, arrest, probation, or incarceration. As such, service providers that professionally deliver these interventions should be seen and supported as important contributors to the City’s crime prevention efforts.

A reduction in recidivism, however desirous and powerful, is only one small aspect of how these services prevent crime, fear, and disorder. Other areas of offender impact deserve similar attention, as do the numerous criminally- and prevention- relevant consequences for broad categories of individuals and institutions affected by or affecting crime, its constructs and consequences.

This section reviews nearly twenty notable categories of impact resulting from service providers’ interventions, including:

Each category is presented as a stand-alone, thoroughly referenced policy brief with one column dedicated to evidence-based impact and importance as identified within relevant research spheres; one column is dedicated to NYC performance and potential, as detailed through anecdotes, program descriptions, and/or proposed applications supported by the referenced research; and an adjoining data visualization helpfully conveying important topic highlights. These briefings contain the latest, most representative information available on how service providers impact local individuals and institutions.58 Collectively, they present an extensive review of how conflict interventions prevent crime.59

Through their alignment with externally reviewed programs, as well as through the on-site observations and data analyses performed as part of this evaluation, NYC service providers appear to collectively mirror the magnitude and mix of impact measures outlined in the following categories. In toto, NYC mediation and restorative justice service providers are an eclectically effective network of objectively quantified and unqualified importance to local crime prevention efforts that are worthy of institutional investment and social utilization well beyond their current measures.

Figure 14. Criminally Relevant Categories of ADR/RJ Impact

Mediation and restorative justice interventions provide an impressive mix of criminally relevant impacts. This visualization identifies 20 such categories, and includes specific benefits as reviewed in the following report segments.


58. As is true in all academic studies, reports of intervention impact are dependent upon the specific qualities of the intervention itself, participant characteristics, provider skill, and study parameters. Variance in any of these can significantly influence reported impact and limit the applicability of one study’s findings to another provider’s programming. As such, where possible, this analysis and the included results draw heavily from existing meta-analyses (i.e. an analysis of analyses). This helps maximize both the reliability of the reported results and the associability between those results and what comparable quantitative studies of NYC’s mediation and restorative programs would report.

59. Conflict interventions had long been labeled ‘promising’ in their ability to influence the prevention of crime. For example, in 1998, Sherman and colleagues noted conflict and relationally-oriented interventions form the core of community approaches to crime prevention, and hold promise beyond what the evaluation record suggests. Now, two decades on, mediation and restorative justice are widely recognized as important, evidence-based, and data-informed contributors to comprehensive, progressive (or, rather, ‘neo-traditionalist’) approaches to crime prevention.