Minister Says Restorative Justice Provides Options

Photo: Barbara Ellington Custos of Manchester, Hon. Sally Porteous (left), and Chief Justice, Hon. Zaila McCalla, peruse a programme prior to the church service to launch Restorative Justice Week at the Ridgemount United Church in Mandeville, Manchester, on February 5.

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, says restorative justice provides options for positive social transformation, by equipping citizens and communities with more effective and peaceful means of resolving conflicts.
  • There are now three restorative justice centres in Kingston and St. Andrew, three in St. Catherine, two in Clarendon, one in St. James and one in Westmoreland.

Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, says restorative justice provides options for positive social transformation, by equipping citizens and communities with more effective and peaceful means of resolving conflicts.

“It focuses on holding the offender accountable. It also fosters the repair of the harm caused by the offence and a sense of healing; and it aids rehabilitation and reintegration of the offender into the community,” the Minister said in a message read by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs. Carol Palmer.

Occasion was a church service to launch Restorative Justice Week, held at the Ridgemount United Church in Mandeville, Manchester. The week will end on February 10 and will be observed under the theme: ‘Building Restorative Communities in Faith Groups, School and Community’.

Mr. Chuck said that restorative justice helps to achieve a sense of healing of both victim and community, thereby giving them a different way of managing conflicts and crime.

“Restorative Justice is formally employed in 10 communities through centres which serve as facilities where citizens can actively seek amicable resolution of their disputes. There are plans to expand the service to all parishes starting in the 2017-18 budget year,” the Minister noted.

There are now three restorative justice centres in Kingston and St. Andrew, three in St. Catherine, two in Clarendon, one in St. James and one in Westmoreland.

In his sermon, Reverend Anthony Chung urged the audience, including members of the judiciary, the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Jamaica Fire Brigade to be part of the solution to the challenges facing the country

He said they should demonstrate good deeds in their practicce of faith, adding that a more just society could be achieved by the fair treatment of workers, justice for all the oppressed, peaceful resolution of conflicts, compassion towards the poor, needy and outcast, and acceptance of responsibility by all.

“There should be a return to civility and common decency in all our discourse; a greater awareness that we cannot have rights without an equal sense of responsibility; and greater humility and empathy in our dealings with each other,” Rev. Chung said.

Also present at the service were: Chief Justice, Hon. Zaila McCalla; Custos of Manchester, Sally Porteous; Public Defender, Arlene Harrison Henry, and representatives from the 12-month crime-free community of August Town.

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