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Jamaicans Urged to Seek Justice That Heals

By: , February 5, 2024
Jamaicans Urged to Seek Justice That Heals
Photo: Contributed
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Grace Ann Stewart McFarlane.

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The Ministry of Justice is encouraging Jamaicans to take advantage of the benefits of its Restorative Justice (RJ) programme, which seeks to heal.

The RJ process is geared towards conflict resolution by providing an opportunity for all parties involved in a matter to come together to reach an agreement.

Speaking at the Restorative Justice National Church Service at the New Beulah Moravian Church in Mandeville, on February 4, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Grace Ann Stewart McFarlane, noted that the process also recognises and promotes positive values, such as respect and compassion.

“Following a crime or harm, it involves providing avenues for victims, offenders and affected communities to discuss the causes, circumstances, and the impacts of the crime. It also recognises that harm is a violation of individuals and relationships,” she said.

The service served as the official start to Restorative Justice Week, which lasts until Sunday, February 11, under the theme ‘Transformation, Peace and Harmony through Restorative Justice’.

Mrs. Stewart McFarlane highlighted that rather than retributive action, RJ encourages meaningful engagement, accountability and opportunities for reparation and reintegration.

“This approach contributes to a justice system or conflict resolution mechanism that is accessible, compassionate, and fair. The Ministry of Justice urges every Jamaican to invest in justice that heals and [that] helps to restore broken relationships. Restorative justice is a free, accessible, convenient, and effective tool for resolving conflicts and disputes, promoting peace and harmony,” the Permanent Secretary noted.

The Ministry operates 20 centres islandwide, staffed with parish and field restorative justice officers, supported by facilitators and community supporters who are trained and sensitised to the process.

“The restorative justice branch of the Ministry takes pride in delivering sensitisation and conducting case conferences, providing restorative practice workshops, and offering training to individuals interested in becoming restorative justice facilitators, restorative practice trainers and trainer of trainers. To reduce conflicts in our society, action is needed from all of us,” the Permanent Secretary said.

For more information on restorative justice or to locate the RJ centre nearest to you, contact the Ministry of Justice by calling the toll-free number, 888-JUSTICE (587-8423), or visiting their website at moj.gov.jm.

Last Updated: February 5, 2024

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