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New Zealanders Awarded the 2005 International Prize for Restorative Justice

Kim Workman and Jackie Katounas were awarded the 2005 International Prize for Restorative Justice. The Prize recognizes significant contributions to advancing restorative justice around the world. It is presented every two years by the Centre for Justice and Reconciliation at Prison Fellowship International (PFI) and is made possible by a gift from Prison Fellowship Canada. The winners were announced during PFI’s International Council Meeting, held August 14-17 in Hong Kong.
“Kim and Jackie are restorative justice practitioners, program designers, community organizers, and effective advocates for restorative justice within New Zealand’s correctional system,” said Daniel W. Van Ness in making the presentation. “Among the programs they have developed are --

  • Sycamore Tree Project®, a program that brings victims into prison for conversations with prisoners about crime and its aftermath
  • Walk a Mile in My Shoes, a victim awareness program
  • He Kokowai Whakapono (A Cloak of Faith), a faith-based community of restoration which has the lowest incidence of drugs and disciplinary actions of any prison unit in the country
  • Operation Jericho, a mentor-based prisoner aftercare program
  • Restorative encounters between prisoners and their victims on request.”

 

The $5,000 International Prize for Restorative Justice honors individuals or organizations for significantly advancing the implementation of restorative justice. Twenty-two nominations were submitted for the 2005 Prize.  “The nominees included practitioners, program managers, public officials and academics, each of whom had made a significant impact locally, nationally or internationally,” said Van Ness. “All were worthy candidates, and it is very possible that one or more could be awarded the Prize in future years.”

Noting that Kim and Jackie work for the New Zealand affiliate of PFI, Prison Fellowship New Zealand, Van Ness reminded participants that the Prize is not limited to Prison Fellowship organizations or staff. “Two years ago, the first Prize was awarded to Dr. Howard Zehr, who is not connected with PFI,” he observed. “But these two individuals stood out among the other nominees in how they exemplified the best characteristics of leaders within the restorative justice community.

“Kim and Jackie reflect the diversity of background that people bring to restorative justice,” said Van Ness. “Kim was formerly head of the Prison Service while Jackie is an ex-offender with 138 convictions. As a Maori, Kim was initially attracted to restorative justice because of how it resonated with his heritage. As an offender, Jackie’s understanding of crime was very self-centered until one day she realized that she was about to fence property stolen from a friend of hers. It caused her to suddenly and profoundly understand that her criminal activities harmed victims, and as a result she returned the property, asked forgiveness, and stopped committing crimes.

“Kim’s creative mind, his understanding of government decision-making processes, his ability to persuade, and his administrative skills, coupled with Jackie’s streetwise effectiveness and remarkable ability to related to the experiences of victims and offenders make them a powerful team.

“They demonstrate well many of the character traits needed to work effectively for restorative justice: They are principled, passionate and pragmatic. They focus on getting results. They are creative and optimistic. They persevere in the face of obstacles. They are personally committed to justice and reconciliation. They are animated by a deep sense of calling.”

Prison Fellowship International is an association of prison ministries in 112 countries. The mission of its Centre for Justice and Reconciliation is to develop and promote restorative justice around the world. Its vision is that one day restorative justice will be the normal way of responding to crime throughout the world.

For more information, contact Daniel W. Van Ness, Executive Director, Centre for Justice and Reconciliation at PFI, PO Box 17434, Washington, DC 20041; email: dvanness@pfi.org; telephone: 1+703-481-0000; fax: 1+703-481-0003.


October 2005

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