Year started: 2000
Neutrals: Victim Offender Conference Coordinator
Eligibility: Cases referred by police or probation officers, with approval from State's Attorney's Office
Free Mediation Services Available?: No
The 18th Judicial Circuit's Victim-Offender Conference Program was established by the Department of Probation and Court Services in 2000. It is governed by Sections 405/5-305 and 405/5-310 of the Illinois Juvenile Court Act and is funded through a grant from the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts.
The program is run by Daniel Smith, the victim offender conference coordinator and a senior probation officer in DuPage County. Smith conducts all pre-conference screenings and facilitates each conference. He received mediation training through a 4-day program at the University of Minnesota.
Cases are referred to the program by police or probation officers, with approval from the State's Attorney's Office. The most common case types referred are battery, property crime and theft. When a case is referred to the program, Smith screens both the victim and the offender. If both parties agree to participate in a conference, one is scheduled at a location in the community, at a time convenient to the victim.
The victim and offender, their families and a police officer attend the conference. Support persons and other approved observers may also attend. Before the conference begins, each attendant signs a confidentiality agreement stating that information shared during the conference is confidential and may not be shared with the Juvenile Court.
During the conference, the victim and offender each share their experience of the crime, and all the attendants participate in reaching an agreement between the parties. The average length of a conference is between 1.5 to 2 hours.
If it is not possible to hold a victim-offender conference, the case may instead be sent to a preliminary conference, where Smith meets with just the offender, his family and a police officer. Smith asks for permission to represent the victim at the conference.
A case may be sent back to court if the agreement reached during the conference is found to be unsatisfactory, or if it is determined there is a risk of re-offending.
Between 2001 and 2007, 482 cases were screened to participate in the program, with 157 victim offender conferences and 108 preliminary conferences held. To date, the program has a 100% settlement rate.
Illinois 18th Judicial Circuit. Jan. 1, 2019
Resource Type: Rules - Court
Abstract: The local rules for Illinois' 18th Judicial Circuit serving DuPage county.
Article 13 - Mandatory Arbitration: Under this rule, all eligible cases valued between $10,000 and the monetary limit authorized by the Illinois Supreme Court must be referr...
Daniel SmithSenior Probation Officer
18th Judicial Circuit Department of Probation and Court Services
503 N. County Farm Rd.
Wheaton, IL 60187
phone: (630) 407-8350
fax: (630) 407-8401