Wed | Feb 20, 2019

Gov't claims success with using restorative justice to reduce re-offending

Published:Sunday | February 10, 2019 | 5:05 PM

The government is claiming success in its attempts at using restorative justice to reduce re-offending.

This is according to coordinator of the Restorative Justice Unit (RJU) in the Ministry of Justice, Dr Kahilah Whyte.

“What is happening now is that we have instances where offenders are becoming Restorative Justice Volunteers [and] are now helping individuals to heal and go about their lives,” she said.

Between December 2018 and January 2019, the RJU convened 810 Restorative Justice Dispute Resolution Sessions (referred to as conferences) with a success rate of 85.3 per cent. The RJU is aiming to increase this to 90 per cent by 2020.

“What restorative justice provides is that further healing, that further opportunity to look at all the grey shades, because it’s not just black or white with the restorative justice process,” Whyte explained.

She was speaking with JIS News at the 10th Conference on Restorative Justice at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on Friday.

Whyte said restorative justice can also aid in reducing the backlog of court cases.

A total of 637 of the 810 restorative justice dispute sessions held were cases referred by the courts, in an attempt to reduce the backlog.

Meanwhile, some 1,500 beneficiaries, inclusive of school administrators, Justices of the Peace, members of the clergy, as well as probation and police officers are being targeted for restorative justice training.

Restorative justice involves bringing together all parties in a dispute or offence to collectively resolve the underlying issues and resulting harm.

It focuses on holding offenders accountable while aiding them to reintegrate in their communities by providing a sense of healing for both themselves and the victims.

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