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    The Ministry of Justice will host its third International Conference on Restorative and Community Justice from May 27 to 28, as part of efforts to advance restorative justice in Jamaica.
    The event is slated for the Knutsford Court Hotel under the theme: ‘Restorative Justice: Transforming Individual, Family, Community and Country’ and target groups include Justices of the Peace (JPs), young people, the clergy and law enforcement officers.
    “We hope to have about 200 participants,” said Justice Reform Coordinator at the Ministry of Justice, Beverly Little at a recent JIS Think Tank.
    According to the Justice Reform Coordinator, the conference will primarily focus on training, which will enhance the effective implementation of the soon to be established community justice tribunals.
    “This particular conference is different because whereas, before, we focused on restorative justice and presentations, designing the concept and so on, this particular conference is going to be focused on training. The goal of our conference primarily is to have a cadre of trained, institutional and community leaders, who are capable of implementing community justice tribunals,” she outlined.
    Senior Director of Strategic Planning, Policy Research and Evaluation at the Ministry of Justice, Peter Parchment, pointed out that restorative justice is important at this time given the recommendations of the 2004 West Kingston Enquiry.
    “Restorative Justice recognises the role that the community plays in relation to conflict resolution and crime prevention and this is a very important area for Jamaica at this point because arising out of the West Kingston Enquiry of 2004, the recommendation that came forward was for the Government to seriously consider the introduction of restorative justice in Jamaica and that is one of the key reasons that we are here at this stage moving forward with restorative justice,” Mr. Parchment noted.
    The two-day conference will feature a number of interactive workshops led by local and international facilitators, including Dr. Grace Kelly from the Northern Caribbean University; Professor Jennifer Llewellyn and Danny Graham, Queen’s Council from Canada; and John Gorczyk and Yvonne Byrd from Vermont in the United States.
    Among the topics for discussion are: ‘How to move from policy to practice: The opportunities for applying the policy and the spectrum of practices that could be applicable to Jamaica’; ‘Community justice tribunals and the criminal justice system – how to align both’; ‘Shifting the paradigm: Opportunities and challenges of the shift’; and ‘Developing a community justice tribunal model for Jamaica’.
    Persons, who have received invitations, are being encouraged to attend as the conference promises to be an enlightening and interesting experience.
    Restorative Justice is a theory of justice that focuses on repairing the harm that wrong doing causes to people and the community. It is about restoring relationships among those who are affected by the wrong that has been committed, including the victim, the perpetrator, the community, families, friends, and relatives.
    The conference commences at 8:30 a.m. both days and is being sponsored by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) through the Canadian Caribbean Cooperation Fund.

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