- Chief Justice McCalla, said that the adoption of the principles of restorative justice presents great promise for a transformed justice system
- Restorative justice 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.
- Jamaica is looking to incorporate the concept as part of the justice system and has already established pilot centres across the island
Chief Justice, Hon. Zalia McCalla and Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Paula Llewellyn, have both declared their unwavering support for the restorative justice programme, both claiming that it can help to improve confidence in the justice system.
They voiced their support, while delivering remarks at a Restorative Justice Protocol and Case Management System Sensitization workshop held yesterday (Nov. 9), at the Jewel Paradise Cove Beach Resort and Spa in Runaway Bay, St. Ann.
Participants included crown counsels, representatives from the DPP’s office, clerks of court, deputy clerks of court, and representatives from the Ministry of Justice.
The workshop formed part of a series being staged in keeping with the National Restorative Justice Policy mandate, to expose referral agents within the programme, to the guiding principles of restorative justice.
The intent is to enhance commitment and support for the protocol and case management systems in the restorative justice process.
In her address, Chief Justice McCalla, said that the adoption of the principles of restorative justice presents great promise for a transformed justice system, and will serve to increase confidence of the citizens in the administration of justice.
“Undoubtedly, restorative justice has an important role to play as one of the strategies to manage criminal cases and assist in reducing the backlog of cases in our system,” she stated.
She told the participants that the series of workshops should enable them to recognize the critical role that they will play in the process of restorative justice and better equip themselves to perform their duties in that area.
While encouraging the participants to be thorough and sensitive of the social context within which they perform their tasks, the Chief Justice emphasized that public confidence in the justice process depends on all persons within the system doing their job fairly and efficiently.
“It also depends on us being sensitive to the needs of the public that we serve, and so it is therefore very important, not only for us, but for generations to come, that we work together to improve efficiency in our courts by supporting all initiatives introduced to improve the administration of justice in our country,” she stated.
“I look forward to the principles of restorative justice becoming a part of our legal system and for these principles to become rooted in our culture,” she added.
Meanwhile, the DPP, in her address, stated that she looks forward to “going on the journey with the policymakers through the restorative justice process, which will empower victims of any crime, and also empower offenders, who can be persuaded that accountability is the way to go”.
Restorative justice 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 that holds 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.
Jamaica is looking to incorporate the concept as part of the justice system and has already established pilot centres across the island, and a number of stakeholders have been trained to introduce the principles at the community level.