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Restorative justice deemed effective in reducing reoffending

Monday, February 11, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Restorative Justice is regarded as effective in reducing likelihood of offences being recommitted.

This is according to Coordinator of the Restorative Justice Unit in the Ministry of Justice, Dr Kahilah Whyte.

“What is happening now is that we have instances where offenders are becoming Restorative Justice Volunteers [and] are now helping individuals to heal and go about their lives,” she said.

Between December 2018 and January 2019, the ministry, through the unit convened 810 Restorative Justice Dispute Resolution Sessions (referred to as conferences) with a success rate of 85.3 per cent. The ministry hopes to increase this to 90 per cent by 2020.

“What Restorative Justice provides is that further healing, that further opportunity to look at all the grey shades, because it's not just black or white with the restorative justice process,” Dr Whyte further stated.

She was speaking with JIS News at the 10th Conference on Restorative Justice at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on February 8.

Dr Whyte said restorative justice can also aid in reducing the backlog of court cases.

A total of 637 of the 810 restorative justice dispute sessions held were cases referred from the courts, in an attempt to reduce the backlog.

Meanwhile, the ministry, through the Unit, will this year host a series of restorative justice training sessions for 1500 beneficiaries, inclusive of school administrators, Justices of the Peace, members of the clergy, and probation and police officers.

Restorative justice is a process whereby all the parties with a stake in a particular offence come together to collectively resolve the underlying issues and resulting harm.

It focuses on holding offenders accountable and aids them to reintegrate in their communities by providing a sense of healing for both themselves and the victims.


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