What is Restorative Justice?
Restorative Justice (RJ) is a process whereby all the parties with a stake in a particular offence come together to resolve collectively how to deal with the aftermath of the offence. It is a different way of thinking about crime and conflict.
RJ focuses on holding the offender accountable in a more meaningful way. It repairs the harm caused by the offence, helps to reintegrate the offender into the community and helps to achieve a sense of healing for both the victim and the community.
RJ Conferences and Circles
RJ Conferences and Circles are some of the tools used in Restorative Justice. A victim may meet with the offender face to face in a Victim/Offender Conference, or with the Offender and persons from the larger community in a Family Group/Community Conference. A Healing and Talking Circle can also be held to focus on a common concern in order to aid in healing. A Sentencing Circle can also be used to arrive at a sentencing plan for an offender.
RJ in Jamaica
Vision Statement: The National Restorative Justice Policy is a pathway for transformation to a more secure, just, cohesive and peaceful Jamaican society.
A National Restorative Justice Policy outlines the Protocols that will govern RJ. The Ministry of Justice has the responsibility for the overall implementation and administration of the National Restorative Justice Programme.
Goals of National Restorative Justice Programme are:
Create a culture of peace through effective processes that emphasize the values of mutual respect, dignity and concern between one another in an environment of healing, reconciliation, and restoration;
Empower individuals, groups and communities to respond in a positive manner to crime and wrongdoing and the harm offenders cause, thus creating satisfactory outcomes which enable productive relationships;
Reduce criminal case backlog by diverting cases from the formal justice system and also resolving conflicts at the community level;
Increase public confidence and trust in the justice system by fostering greater participation in and ownership of Restorative Justice Processes by communities and victims;
Reduce recidivism by addressing the underlying causes of criminal behaviour and supporting the constructive reintegration of the offender into the community; and
- Eliminate the reprisal culture by enabling individuals to have access to a dispute resolution process at the early stage of conflict and avoid escalation to violent reactions.
The RJ Programme is currently being piloted in eight (8) communities across Jamaica. These Communities are being served through five (5) Centres.
The Spanish Town Restorative Justice Centre
SDC Complex, 1 Port Henderson Road, Spanish Town,
Telephone: (876) 749 - 1270
Field Officers: Peta-Ann Morris - (876) 572 - 7635
The Spanish Town RJ Centre serves the following communities in Spanish Town, St. Catherine:
The May Pen Restorative Justice Centre
8 B Manchester Avenue, May Pen,
Telephone: (876) 986 - 2446
Field Officer: Hazel Williams Vaz - (876) 569 - 9121
The May Pen RJ Centre serves the following communities in Clarendon:
The Tower Hill Restorative Justice Centre
Olympic Gardens Civic Centre, 119 Olympic Way,
Telephone: (876) 758 - 8404
Field Officer: Roydon Hall - (876) 569 -9292
The Tower Hill RJ Centre serves the following community in Kingston:
The Russia Restorative Justice Centre
Shop 21, Dunbar Mall, Savanna La Mar
Telephone: (876) 955 - 2607
FIeld Officer: Mrs. Staci-Ann Winter Thomas - (876)-572-5082
The Russia RJ Centre serves the following community in Westmoreland:
The Granville Restorative Justice Centre
Granville Community Centre
The Granville RJ Centre serves the following community in Montego Bay: