Victim Support: The SORI Programme and Restorative Justice
Sep 20, 2010
From the article by Own Sharp on info 4 security:
The arrival of the coalition Government in Westminster has prompted some fierce debate about the future of the criminal justice system and the rehabilitation of offenders.
There has been talk about a ‘rehabilitation revolution’ to cut reoffending, while the role of short sentences has been questioned as part of a sentencing review which will report next month.
As part of this debate, ministers have expressed an interest in restorative justice which we at Victim Support believe could benefit victims, cut reconvictions and, as a result, save the taxpayer money.
It’s a concept that has been put into practice in Wales and other parts of the UK, and gives victims the chance to tell offenders the real impact of their crime, to derive answers to their questions and to receive an apology.
In addition, it helps many victims get on with their lives while giving offenders an understanding of the real impact of what they have done, as well as a chance to do something to repair the harm.
...The Supporting Offenders Through Restoration Inside programme (SORI), which we deliver in partnership with Cardiff Prison, uses some of these approaches (including presentation afternoons). Here, offenders meet with victims and members of the wider community, explain their actions and make a public apology.
A recent survey of victims taking part in the presentation afternoons found that 95% wanted to raise offender awareness of the impact of crime while 89% wanted to help offenders to try and repair some of the harm that they had caused.
Elsewhere, an analysis of direct restorative justice meetings between victims and offenders found that 85% of victims found them useful.
... By extending the scope of restorative justice on this scale, our analysis of the Ministry of Justice research suggests that the Government could cut reconviction rates by 27% and save £185 million in policing, prison, legal aid and NHS treatment costs.
So not only would extending the scope of restorative justice be good for victims, but it would also benefit the taxpayer and offenders, too.
As an organisation that offers help to 1.5 million victims every year, we know that they want an explanation, an apology and for offenders to stop offending.
Restorative justice can play an important part in delivering those desires, and we very much hope the interest expressed by ministers is translated into reality.
Read the full article.