September 13, 2022
MOJ enters a RJ partnership with Church Leaders
Caption: Minister of Justice, Delroy Chuck delivering the main address at the signing of the
Restorative Justice Memorandum of Understanding between
MOJ and church leaders of various denominations.
KINGSTON, Jamaica- The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to form a partnership with Churches at a signing ceremony held on Tuesday, the 6th of September.
The signing of the MOU to train church leaders and their congregants in Restorative Justice Practices forms part of the MOJ’s push to make justice more accessible to Jamaicans by providing Alternative Justice Services to all citizens.
Minister of Justice, Delroy Chuck was the guest speaker at the event. In his address he reiterated the importance of having this partnership with Jamaican churches. “This is a major historical beginning to what I hope will be a major impact of transformation across Jamaica. I have found that the church is a very important part of Jamaican society. I believe it is about time I embark on a programme to involve the churches of Jamaica to reduce conflict, volatility, aggression among other problems,” he said.
His Grace, Most Reverend Kenneth Richards, Chairman of the Jamaica Umbrella Groups of Churches endorsed the partnership and elaborated on the transformative impact of Restorative Justice. “Restorative Justice is a craft that requires developing skills, techniques, and expertise that will lead to mastery in mediating social encounters to resolve conflict. The partnership of the church with the state, for restorative justice cannot only address interpersonal conflict but must also be contributory to underlying physical and socio-political problems,” he said.
He continued, “This partnership offers us new opportunities and new possibilities to make Jamaica the place to live, work, raise families, and do business.”
Caption: (Front Row) Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck (centre), Permanent Secretary Grace-Ann Stewart McFarlane (fourth left) and Archbishop of Jamaica, His Grace, Most Reverend Kenneth Richards (third left) pose with church leaders who attended the Restorative Justice MOU signing
Church leaders from various denominations attended the event and expressed their support. Denominations represented included the Jamaica Umbrella Groups of Churches, Jamaica Union of Conference of Seventh Day Adventists, Church of Christ in Jamaica and the Jamaica School of Preaching and Biblical Studies, among others.
Over the past four years, the Ministry has had more than 7,000 cases referred to the RJ Programme with the courts being the main source of referrals. Referrals are also made by communities and the Jamaica Constabulary Force. Over the last two years, the average success rate of the RJ interventions was 93%. This means that approximately 9 out of every 10 RJ conflict resolution conferences resulted in an agreement.
Restorative Justice is a process whereby all parties with a stake in a particular offence come together to resolve collectively how to deal with the aftermath of the offence. There are twenty Restorative Justice Centres across the island and all churches, schools and communities are being urged to use the service.