Parole and restorative justice
Jun 09, 2011
The Restorative Justice Act, now being debated in the House of Representatives, introduces new concepts and challenges into our society, including the introduction of the parole system. In order to effectively implement the restorative justice measures, the input of everybody in society is crucial.
The discussion on the introduction of restorative justice measures in our system was first made following the publication of a White Paper by the Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs in February 2009.
The basic principles of restorative justice are that when a crime is committed there are primarily three parties that are directly affected: the victim, the offender and society at large. The commission of a crime affects society at large – through fear, uncertainty and apprehension. Such apprehension may be appeased when the offender is caught and convicted. Yet, how many stop and think that, unless one is imprisoned for life, the offender will one day return to society?
....The major provisions in the new law are:
The division of responsibilities between the probation services (that will be responsible for parole and victim support) and the correctional services (that will address the care and re-integration aspect of the offender).
The setting up of new boards, namely:
The Offender Assessment Board, responsible to design a care plan for prison inmates and to make recommendations to the Parole Board;
The Parole Board, an autonomous body responsible to decide whether to grant parole or not to the eligible inmate when the eligibility date is due;
The Remission Board, responsible for deciding on the award, forfeiture and awarding back remission days forfeited;
The Victim-Offender Mediation Committee, responsible to provide mediation as a means of reparation for both the victim and the offender. A shift in the correction services from one based on punitive measures to one based on incentives for those offenders by means of a care and rehabilitative programme devised for them.