The prominence of Mafia in Southern Italy hinders the implementation of victim–offender mediation

Victim−offender mediation in areas characterized by high levels of organized crime

From European Journal of Criminology

This paper provides some reflections on the feasibility and implementation of victim– offender mediation (VOM) in countries or geographical areas characterized by particularly serious types of criminality, such as Mafia-like organized crime. It uses Italy as a case study and considers why Southern Italy struggles to implement VOM yet it is successful in the Northern territory.  The study outlines that Southern Italy is a regional context deeply affected by organized crime and the Mafia subculture. This article proposes some working hypotheses concerning the improvement of VOM in areas where criminality is strongly linked to Mafia-type organizations. Difficulties for mediation may be related to the pre-existing mediatory role played historically by Mafia leaders. For mediation to have any chance of success in South European countries, a truly secular and modern culture of restoration must be promoted, based on an informed awareness of the past. It is argued that the presence of hostile conditions should not preclude the success of restorative justice and mediation and concludes that even tough obstacles can be overcome. The study offers anthropological and juridical perspectives not yet investigated.

Abstract

Little criminological research exists on the implementation of victim–offender mediation (VOM) in geographical areas characterized by a ‘crisis of legality’ owing to presence of organized crime. The current paper examines why Italy can be seen as a case study, given that VOM has been successfully implemented in Northern Italy whereas it is still struggling in Southern Italy, a regional context deeply affected by organized crime and the Mafia subculture. It hypothesizes that the difficulties and the delays in implementing restorative justice and VOM in Southern Italy may be related to the pre-existing mediatory role played historically by Mafia leaders, which runs parallel to the ‘official’ VOM system. This paper also proposes some working hypotheses concerning the improvement of VOM in areas where criminality is strongly linked to Mafia-type organizations.

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Article details
Mannozzi, G. (2013). Victim-offender mediation in areas characterized by high levels of organized crime European Journal of Criminology DOI: 10.1177/1477370812467600

     
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