The Ministry of Justice is looking to establish a restorative justice centre in Greenwich Farm, St. Andrew, to serve members of that community and surrounding areas.
This was disclosed by Portfolio Minister, Hon. Delroy Chuck, during today’s (October 21) Access to Justice Virtual Town Hall Meeting.
He informed that 15 community members have signalled their willingness to receive training as justice facilitators.
“Indeed, just two weeks ago, the community of Greenwich Farm was so impressed by what is happening in Tivoli Gardens, Denham Town, Tower Hill [and] Trench Town that they came to visit us and say they want a restorative justice centre, and we are looking at how we can have one in Greenwich Farm,” he said.
The Minister noted that there are 18 restorative justice centres across Jamaica, adding that they are “making a difference in communities”.
Restorative Justice is a process whereby all the parties with a stake in a particular offence come together to collectively resolve the aftermath of the offence and its implications for the future. The emphasis is on repairing harm caused by conflict or crime.
Mr. Chuck described restorative justice as an approach to healing conflicts at every level of the society.
He said training in restorative justice will be undertaken at all levels of the society to ensure that conflicts are resolved amicably.
“We intend to train not only police officers, clerks of court, parish court judges, probation officers but I have given the mandate to the restorative justice section of the Ministry; we need restorative justice facilitators in every school across Jamaica – at least three facilitators,” he said.
He added too that facilitators will be trained in the churches and the wider communities.
“We have too many disputes and conflicts that end up in violent crimes, that end up in murders, and our courts are filled with these problems of crime… and we end up with an overburdened prison system. We will continue to push restorative justice across every nook and cranny of Jamaica,” he said.
Restorative justice fosters mutual respect and concern for community members, empowers citizens to resolve conflicts at the community level and reduces repeat offences by addressing the fundamental causes of criminal behaviour.
It engages the public in restorative justice practices and has the advantage of reducing case backlog in the courts, thus contributing to a more efficient justice system.
The Ministry of Justice has responsibility for the overall implementation and administration of the National Restorative Justice Programme.