Call for more restorative justice plans
A restorative programme to help develop conflict resolution skills in west Tallaght in Dublin should be rolled out to all schools in Ireland, former governor of Mountjoy Prison John Lonergan has said.
At the launch of a report evaluating the Restorative Practice Programme of the Childhood Development Initiative, Mr Lonergan said inter-community relationships “are at the very heart of the quality of life that people have”.
Review: A community-based approach to the reduction of sexual re-offending: circles of support and accountability
Often sex offenders are isolated people who have difficulty making relationships, and when they come out of prison the double stigma of prison and the nature of their offence isolates them still more – an extra hardship for them, and an increased risk that they will revert to their previous behaviour. So the idea of forming a circle of support for them is both humane and a safeguard. It does not fall under the usual definition of restorative justice, because it does not include dialogue with the victim, which would in many cases be unwanted and/or inappropriate. It does however restore or even improve the situation of the offender, and it involves members of the community.
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.
Intertwined: Community conflict management in the school
from the website of Forsee Research Group:
The 27 minute film created within the programme targets secondary school students essentially, with the most important aim of supporting the responsiveness to alternative dispute resolution (ADR) with audiovisual tools. The above is realised primarily through the demonstration of the fundamental principles of ADR in educational situations, moreover, the film also cites a non-violent resolution of a specific in-school case, presenting the steps, methods and tools applied in the process. We intend to make the audience think and reflect on their own conflict resolution practices: to re-enforce their positive practices and to face ‘violent’ dispute resolution routines either applied or sustained by them.
The film is presented by trained moderator pairs in the frame of a film and discussion workshop, through a pre-defined theme.
Youth justice report claims restorative justice would be more effective than courts
The government is being urged to deal with the majority of young offenders in England and Wales through restorative justice conferences rather than the courts, in a report on youth justice hearings.
The report, called Time For A New Hearing, is based on an international comparison of how young offenders are dealt with and found that restorative justice conferences are more effective than courts in reducing reoffending.
Best Practice Guidance for Restorative Justice Practitioners and their Case Supervisors and Line Managers (Scotland)
from the Introduction:
The primary aim of restorative justice is to address or repair the harm caused by an incident or offence. The processes used to achieve this objective can intersect with formal systems or institutions in a number of ways. But it is worth remembering that restorative justice processes can arise naturally and (more or less) spontaneously, without the need for third-party intervention. Expressions of remorse, making amends, healing and reconciliation happen all the time: relationships, families, organisations and society would quickly break down if this were not the case.
There are cases, however, where the incident or offence is so serious or complex that it comes to the attention of someone in authority: for example, a parent, teacher, supervisor, manager, police officer, children's reporter, procurator fiscal, sheriff, and so on.
The restorative justice ideal is that, whatever else needs to happen, the authority in question gives consideration to what can be done to address or repair the harm that has been caused.
Response to the (UK) Independent Commission on Youth Crime and Antisocial Behaviour
Note: The Independent Commission on Youth Crime and Antisocial Behaviour was formed in the UK to seek:
...ways to reduce the damage that children and young people who take part in antisocial and criminal acts can cause to victims, to neighbourhoods and to themselves. In inviting views on how this should be done, we acknowledge the emotional and social harm as well as the financial costs that can result from such behaviour.
We are looking for ways of responding to youth crime and antisocial behaviour that are more clearly principled, as well as fair, humane and more cost-effective than those presently in place. We anticipate that such a system would not only meet the needs of children, families and the wider community more effectively, but also – through its grounding in agreed principles – prove politically sustainable.
Here are portions of Dr. Martin Wright's comments on a consultation paper released by the Commission for discussion. The full document is available below.