Restorative approaches in local conflicts of Northern Ireland
….While many people in Northern Ireland encounter each other through their employment, through shopping and through their social life, most people live in neighbourhoods that are predominantly made up of Protestants or Catholics. The many community relations projects throughout the country offer opportunities for people of different identities to meet and share their experiences. These are voluntary programmes and may not attract those most antagonistic towards the „other‟ and most engaged in violence. Those who are arrested for violence or hate crime will be dealt with by the criminal justice system and are unlikely to engage with their victims unless they are under the age of 18 or are referred to a community based restorative project.
Scheme 'cuts youth reoffending'
from the article in the Independent:
Youth reoffending levels dropped dramatically when alternatives to prison were used in Northern Ireland, MPs have been told.
Two-thirds of those released from custody committed further offences within a year, compared with under a third receiving a form of restorative justice sanction known as youth conferencing, Youth Justice Agency (YJA) figures showed.
Ford launches restorative justice guide for young people
from the article on Northern Ireland Executive:
Justice Minister David Ford has launched an innovative new guide to restorative justice for young people. The booklet entitled “Restorative Justice - a guide for young people” was produced by the Youth Justice Agency in collaboration with the Restorative Justice Forum (NI).
Launched during a Restorative Justice Forum seminar in Parliament Buildings, the child friendly guide uses a comic book format to explain how restorative justice can be used in a variety of settings including the youth conference.
A review of the Youth Justice System in Northern Ireland
One of the most positive developments to have arisen out of Northern Ireland’s recent history is the expansion of rich and varied restorative practices. Restorative approaches have been used to respond to offending and anti-social behaviour, family disputes, disruptive behaviour in schools and children’s homes and in helping prisoners reintegrate back into their communities. Early teething problems have been largely overcome and professional practice in restorative justice in Northern Ireland is now internationally recognised.
UK riots and restorative justice: A Northern Ireland perspective
I am employed by the Youth Justice Agency of Northern Ireland as a youth conference co-ordinator. My job is to organise restorative conferences between young people (10-18) and victims. The conferences are 'ordered' by court or public prosecution (the latter means the young person does not recieve a criminal conviction if they work with the process).
At the conference the victim, young person, family and community meet to discuss what happened and agree an action plan for the young person. The action plan then goes back to the court or prosecution for final agreement and if they agree the young person must carry it out or be returned to court.
Call for restorative justice review
from the article on UTV News:
Schemes carried out by Community Restorative Justice Ireland need to be reviewed according to an independent report.
A Criminal Justice Inspection report has revealed only one case has been referred by the community restorative justice system to police in Northern Ireland since 2007.
....The 19-page report, found despite four recommendations being fully achieved and one partially achieved, several issues remain to be addressed.
Victim's daughter meets IRA bomber: An interview with Jo Berry
On October 12, 1984 an IRA bomb planted by Patrick Magee demolished Brighton’s Grand Hotel in Brighton killing 5 people including Sir Anthony Berry, MP for Southgate and a member of the Thatcher government. The bomb hit on the last day of the conservative party conference held at the hotel. The IRA bomber Magee was sentenced to 35 years in prison. He was released after 14 years under the negotiated Good Friday agreement.
The following is from an interview Lisa Rea conducted with Jo Berry, daughter of Sir Anthony Berry. She did this interview from her home in Macclesfield UK. Jo Berry chose to meet with Pat Magee in November 2000. Today the two work together on many initiatives including addressing peace conferences, giving workshops in prisons, and speaking at universities.
Q. How did the meeting(s) happen? What was the process? Were you, and Pat, adequately prepared to meet? Walk us through what happened.
Promoting previously unthinkable ways
from the paper by Derek Wilson:
Building a more restorative culture in society is to: build a new practice that works critically and reflectively within existing traditions and institutions; enable people to transgress traditional boundaries and meet; support existing organisations re-envision their role in the light of a new and agreed political dispensation; and set free initiatives that are transformative because of their inclusive structures or the focus of their work.
....An initial question before reading this is “what are we restoring to?”
Why restorative justice fans trumpet Northern Ireland
from the entry by Bluecorps on Criminologist:
The possible introduction of restorative justice in mainland Britain promises to spark a furious debate but in Northern Ireland they wonder what the fuss is all about.
It has been a mainstream feature of the youth justice there for seven years. Three quarters of victims choose to meet the young offender face to face and victim satisfaction rates stand at 90 per cent, according to the Northern Ireland Justice Ministry.
Platforms for a restorative society in Northern Ireland
Reconciliation has been an important concept in building relationships and structures in Northern Ireland that lessen the harm done to people in the midst of conflict. It is also an important concept in the language of Track One, Two and Three conflict transformation strategies.
Central to reconciliation is the promotion of right relationships and the securing of agreements and structural arrangements that build a new acknowledgement and respect between those seen as ‘different others’. Such work seeks to right previous imbalances and wrongs. Important elements of that agenda in Northern Ireland include the drive for legal remedies and new laws on equality, good relations, human rights, harassment and hate crime, and the exploration of how the past is acknowledged and how victims are respected and remembered.
As a transcending idea, reconciliation continually challenges current ways of living with different and previously estranged others. However, it is a concept that many men and women have difficulty applying to their own actions. There is a tendency to see it as an activity for others in important positions, rather than as something all citizens must contribute to as part of their daily endeavours.