* Studies have shown that victims are decidedly more satisfied following participation in restorative justice programs compared to the formal justice system, with as much as 96% reporting being pleased with the process.
* Mediation also benefits the public safety and, by extension, the offender. One study has found that juveniles, having been confronted with the harm they had caused and made to remedy it, were 32% less likely to reoffend than their similar peers in the traditional criminal justice system.
* Reform ADR Referral Process. Rather than burdening prosecutors with the need to refer cases to ADR processing, allow the victim or police (with victim consent) to make this decision. This will allow those more intimately familiar with the case to decide its handling. Cases that are not successfully mediated in ADR will revert to the traditional process. Further, data collected on cases diverted to ADR from the court and handled successfully should reflect this, not count as a dismissal for the prosecutor.
* Empower Victims in Plea Decisions. Since the harm caused by crime is almost fully borne by the victims, they should in turn be allowed to contribute to the plea process. Texas can require that prosecutors involved in plea negotiations be required to solicit victim input and inform the presiding judge of the victim’s position before a plea can be accepted.
* Recognize Importance of Property Crime Victims. Under current law, victim status is only conferred on those who fall prey to a violent crime. This negates the harm done to property crime victims, who comprise over 89% of all crime victims in Texas. Many of the same statutory provisions, such as requiring that they be given notice of developments in the case and an opportunity to provide input, should apply to property crime victims as well.