JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Hundreds of students and teachers from primary and secondary schools across the Corporate Area have benefited from a restorative justice youth forum and panel discussion organised by the Ministry of Justice.
  • The event, held on Wednesday (February 5) at the Pembroke Hall Primary School auditorium in Kingston, formed part of this year’s Restorative Justice Week activities.
  • It featured a multi-stakeholder discussion panel with representatives from the Ministry’s Victim Services Division, the Jamaica Prefect Association, Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), as well as restorative justice facilitators, fielding questions related to conflict resolution in schools.

Hundreds of students and teachers from primary and secondary schools across the Corporate Area have benefited from a restorative justice youth forum and panel discussion organised by the Ministry of Justice.

The event, held on Wednesday (February 5) at the Pembroke Hall Primary School auditorium in Kingston, formed part of this year’s Restorative Justice Week activities.

It featured a multi-stakeholder discussion panel with representatives from the Ministry’s Victim Services Division, the Jamaica Prefect Association, Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), as well as restorative justice facilitators, fielding questions related to conflict resolution in schools.

Guidance Counsellor at John Mills Infant, Primary and Junior High School, Kerry Ann Stewart, told JIS News that the forum was enlightening, especially for students, who are new to the concept of restorative justice.

“I think this was a very good forum to help students understand what restorative justice is, so that they can impart knowledge in their classrooms, their communities and among their peers. I also find that it is a topic that is not very popular, and so students and parents are not very aware of the process… so I really think this was beneficial,” Ms. Stewart said.

Pembrook Hall Primary student, Leneisha Harrison, said that having attended the forum, she now has a better understanding of restorative justice and its place and function in society.

“Parents, teachers and everyone really need restorative justice. The Jamaican motto says ‘out of many one people’. We are one people and we should take care of each other. We are supposed to be brothers and sisters; not enemies, but allies,” Leneisha said.

Guidance Counsellor at Edith Dalton James High School, George-Ann Cohall, told JIS News that she enjoyed the discussion and the presentations made.

“If our students understand different resolution methods, such as mediation, guidance and counselling and also incorporating better parenting, I believe that we will begin to stem the impact of violence or how children respond to conflict resolution at home, which would be transferred in the school system. So this was a good presentation for schools and other stakeholders to participate in,” Ms. Cohall said.

Head boy at Pembrook Hall Primary, Jowayne Harris, for his part, said that one of his biggest takeaways from the session is knowing that there is a restorative justice avenue to resolving conflicts.

“During this session, we learned that we can turn to the Ministry of Justice. We also learnt different ways to improve society through restorative justice and that when thinking what decisions to make in a situation, to always choose good over bad,” he added.

Activities for Restorative Justice Week will culminate on Friday (February 7 with a conference at the AC Marriott Hotel in New Kingston.

Restorative Justice is considered an alternative dispute resolution method, whereby parties with a stake in a particular offence, come together to resolve the matter and determine how to deal with the aftermath of the offence.

It focuses on holding the offender accountable in a more meaningful way, as it repairs the harm caused by the offence, and helps to reintegrate the offender into the community and achieve a sense of healing.