Jamaica Observes Restorative Justice Week from February 2 to 8


Jamaica will mark the second annual Restorative Justice Week from February 2 to 8 under the theme: ‘Restorative Justice Towards Forgiveness, Healing and Reconciliation’.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Senator Dorothy Lightbourne, speaking at the press launch on (Feb. 1) at the Ministry’s Oxford Road office in Kingston, said that the observance is to promote the philosophy of restorative justice, as “a humane and holistic approach to conflict resolution.” “The government of Jamaica is committed to incorporating the restorative justice principles and practices within the (Jamaican) Justice Reform Programme,” Senator Lightbourne pointed out, noting that the initiative promotes accountability, personal transformation, integration, restraint, attention to needs and that the central obligation is “to put right the wrong.” In giving an example of the benefits of restorative justice, Senator Lightbourne said: “If a neighbourhood embraces restorative justice practices, it is likely that over time, there will be a significant reduction in the number of incidences of violence and physical harm. This would bring about reduced cost to the health sector and the demand on our security forces and court services.” She also pointed out that elements of restorative justice in the criminal justice system can ease overcrowding, and lessen the cost of maintaining inmates in penal institutions. Jamaica joins a growing number of countries in Europe and Africa that have set aside one week to mark restorative justice.
Activities get underway tomorrow (Feb. 2) with a service at the North Street Seventh Day Adventist Church and another on Sunday (Feb. 3) at St. Margaret’s Church on Old Hope Road.
The week of observance, which coincides with Peace Month, will culminate with a two-day international conference from Thursday (Feb. 7) to Friday (Feb. 8) at the Hilton Kingston hotel.

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