JIS News

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Carol Palmer, says the Government will be seeking the public's input in formulating the proposed Child Diversion Policy.

"Very shortly, we will be coming to the public in a focused way to help us shape the Diversion Policy, as we seek to work with young people to prevent them getting criminal records and to have a structured approach to how they change their behavior," she said.

She was speaking at the 14th Annual General Meeting of the Dispute Resolution Foundation (DRF) held today (February 22), at the Medallion Hall Hotel in St. Andrew.

The Child Diversion Policy aims to address the needs of children involved in violent incidents, outside of the formal justice system.

In the meantime, Mrs. Palmer stressed that the Government is focused on improving the justice system.

This intention, she said, is to increase the availability and affordability of justice services, improve access, and provide information on the justice system to the public.

Key to this thrust, she said, is advancing the Restorative Justice Programme, which the Ministry has been rolling out since February of last year. Restorative justice is a process whereby all the parties with a stake in a particular dispute that has taken place, come together to resolve and deal with the aftermath of the offence and its implications for the future.

Mrs. Palmer informed that in addition to Cabinet's approval of a Restorative Justice Policy, which has also been tabled in Parliament, restorative justice facilitators have been trained and certified, a co-ordinator is now in place, and eight restorative justice centres have been opened.

Mrs. Palmer thanked members of the DRF for their assistance in the restorative justice process, noting that, she is "looking forward to joined-up services where our centres have been established or where your centres exist."

"We have to see how we can be cost efficient in operations so that we maximise every dime that is available to us in this country," she said.

She stated that the Ministry "unwaveringly supports mediation and peace and justice centres, which offer a large menu of services in communities."