Restorative justice programme has high success rate
Minister of Justice, Delroy Chuck, is encouraging more persons to use restorative justice as one of the options for resolving conflicts.
Restorative justice seeks to settle disputes by having all parties involved come together to reach an agreement. It focuses on holding the offender accountable in a more meaningful way and is intended to repair the harm caused by the offence. Speaking during Wednesday's post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, Chuck said the programme was one of the "real success stories of the Ministry of Justice".
"All matters that have been referred to restorative justice, the success rate is 80 per cent; and when they have been referred by the court, the success rate is over 90 per cent. The real weakness is that more cases are not referred," he said. "That is why we are spending a fair amount of time and effort urging persons in conflict, persons who have been engaged in a lot of violent confrontations, to seek help, because when they do come to restorative justice, it heals."
Chuck indicated that 20 restorative justice centres have been established islandwide, adding that training has been conducted for hundreds of facilitators.
"We want to get more communities, churches, [and] schools sensitised and involved in the practice. So, yes, we have trained persons in close to 300 schools... [and] we have [approximately] 1,000 schools. We have nearly 4,000 churches, [and] we have just started the process of sensitising at least 25 persons in every church on the alternative justice programmes. So over the next [several] years, that will be rolled out in the churches, schools, communities and, eventually, business places," Chuck added.
Additionally, restorative justice assists in reintegrating the offender into the society and helps to achieve a sense of healing for the victim and community.