Requirements for Serving as an Advocate During Mediation in Columbia, Maryland

The Mediation Center in Columbia, Maryland (HCDC) has partnered with MCRC, Inc. to provide reentry mediation services to crime victims and offenders. Through this partnership, teams from MCRC, Inc. make presentations to insiders about the services and hold admission and evaluation conversations with those who wish to use them.

Once approved, outsiders and individuals with privileged information can meet with two neutral, professionally trained mediators in a private meeting space within HCDC to discuss issues related to their lives when they leave the detention center. The goal of this process is to help privileged individuals make plans for their return to the community with people they consider important to their success. Research has shown that those who participate in the mediation process for reentry before release have a lower recidivism rate than those who do not. The State's Attorney's Office (SAO) refers juvenile offenders to MCRC, Inc. for restorative services led by two professionally trained mediators. The SAO recommends these services when they believe that the juvenile offender and the type of offence would be better off if they had the opportunity to thoroughly examine their actions and identify and consider those affected by their actions through alternative methods rather than through a more formal judicial process.

The results often involve young people writing an action plan on how to ensure that the same behavior and action are not repeated. This process serves to encourage youth responsibility, provide an opportunity to learn through the incident, and reduce the flow of young people entering from school to prison. Mrs. Paizz is a certified mediator with the Maryland Dispute Resolution Council (MCDR) and currently serves as chair of the MCDR Certification Committee. She has gained valuable experience in real estate, contract, labor, corporate, and domestic law in both Maryland and other state court systems.

Mrs. Paizz has been mediating since 2000 and spent her first six and a half years of mediation working on a model of comediation with Dr. Mike Boyle, clinical psychologist. Mrs. Paizz also volunteers as a facilitator for the Howard County Circuit Court.

Mediation is an essential tool that provides evidence of the parties' agreement and can be enforced in a court of law if necessary. The mediation settlement agreement serves as evidence of the resolution of the dispute and outlines the obligations of each party involved. The Nebraska Office of Dispute Resolution (ODR) hires approved and affiliated local mediation centers to mediate most court cases. Each district court maintains a list of mediators available to assist parties in family disputes, civil cases, and appellate cases subject to mandatory mediation. The district's ADR commissioners create and maintain a panel of mediators comprised of attorneys licensed to practice law in Nevada and a separate panel of mediators who are not attorneys. To qualify as a civil mediator, one must be a lawyer, have 40 hours of training in civil mediation approved by the Commission, and have completed at least six hours of approved continuing education within three years of submitting the application for registration. The requirements for serving as an advocate during a mediation session vary by state but generally include being an accredited member of the state bar association, having completed at least 14 hours of approved mediation training, and completing at least six hours of continuing education related to mediation every two years. In Massachusetts, mediators do not apply directly to the court; instead, courts contract approved programs to provide them.

The model rules include 40 hours of basic training in mediation, at least two mediations of at least two hours in duration that are mediated by a mediating mentor or under supervision of a mediator, and legal education in form of course on judicial system and civil litigation (this requirement does not apply to lawyers). Experience requirements vary by state but most include minimum number of mediations conducted independently or under supervision of a mediator or mentor.

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