Many mediators, for example, are untrained retired litigators and Christmas auntie Claus shirt, sweater. These people often don’t understand. The basic principles of mediation and proceed from a deep well of ignorance about what they think mediation is like. I spoke with one retired judge who had a mediation practice once about his mediation style. I asked if he was more facilitative, or preferred something like transformative mediation. He said I don’t know what that means. I let the parties tell me their story and then tell them what agreement to write. This wildly violates some of the core ethical rules of mediation as a process. When implemented correctly and effectively, punishments aren’t just a meaningless infliction of return pain setting up a power struggle.
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Between the powerless and the Christmas auntie Claus shirt, sweater. They instead serve as a means of repairing the relationships and community environment that were harmed in the process. In order to figure out how to make things right, the offender has to understand why the actions were wrong in the first place. When implemented poorly, you get the example that Matthew Bates described with Timmy the Bully, who realizes it’s all just a big waste of time and he has to say the right words to sound a little remorseful before everyone gets let go. Five minutes later, I have no doubt that Timmy in this example has already made James’ life five times more miserable because there were no consequences and it just pissed him off and wasted his time.