Mediation is an informal, confidential process where trained, impartial persons – mediators – facilitate discussions between charging parties and respondents to help them clarify issues and negotiate an agreement. The mediator does not act as a judge and will not make a decision. The parties retain control of the outcome. The mediation generally takes place either in the Phoenix or Tucson offices of the Civil Rights Division and takes between one and four hours.
If the parties reach a resolution, the terms are included in a formal, written mediation agreement that must be approved by the Civil Rights Division. When all of the parties have reached an agreement, the case will be dismissed. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement through the mediation process, the Compliance Section of the Civil Rights Division will pursue its investigation of the complaint. The Conflict Resolution Program (CRP) is separate from the Compliance Section and no information will be shared with the investigators about anything that occurs in the mediation process.
Types of Mediation
The Attorney General’s Office provides mediation in the following areas:
- Civil Rights Mediation – Civil Rights Mediations are set up by the Civil Rights Division. This type of mediation covers four areas of discrimination: housing, employment, public accommodations and voting. Volunteer mediators help facilitate the discussion between both parties. This process helps save time and helps the parties resolve their differences without costly litigation and lengthy investigation.
- Truancy Mediation – Truancy Mediation services focus on utilizing the courts and the schools to find out why the student is missing classes and what can be done to correct the problem. As always, this process is confidential and looks at whether family problems, learning difficulties or other conflicts are contributing factors to the student’s truancy.
- Victim-Offender Mediation – Victim-Offender Mediation is usually set up by the courts and is facilitated by a well-trained community mediator who supervises a face-to-face meeting between an offender and his victim and victims' families. This form of mediation serves to answer victims’ questions about the crime and help offenders confront the human consequences of their crimes and see their victims as human beings rather than objects. In some cases, mediation may be a condition of parole or probation.
- State Agency Mediation – Various State agencies use the Attorney General’s mediation services to help disputing parties resolve conflict. Cases are often referred by State agencies when the agency wants disputing parties to resolve problems on their own. Each situation determines how the mediation program will be tailored.