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  • The Ministry of Justice will be increasing the number of restorative justice centres in operation across the island.
  • Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck said the Ministry hopes to commence the expansion programme in October, with the establishment of facilities in Tivoli Gardens and Denham Town in West Kingston.
  • He indicated that discussions are being held with Member of Parliament for the area and Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie.

The Ministry of Justice will be increasing the number of restorative justice centres in operation across the island.

Portfolio Minister, Hon. Delroy Chuck, said the objective is to expand and strengthen the programme of intervention, mediation and resolution in volatile communities in order to “ease some of the conflicts that emerge”.

He was speaking at a justice services sensitisation session at the Ministry’s Constant Spring Road offices in Kingston on Tuesday (September 27).

Mr. Chuck said the Ministry hopes to commence the expansion programme in October, with the establishment of facilities in Tivoli Gardens and Denham Town in West Kingston.

He indicated that discussions are being held with Member of Parliament for the area and Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie.

These facilities, when opened, will add to 10 already in operation. There are four in the communities of Trench Town and Tower Hill in Kingston and St. Andrew; and six in St. Catherine, Clarendon, Westmoreland and St. James.

Minister Chuck urged community leaders, including teachers, members of the clergy and civic-minded individuals, to encourage persons with disputes to utilise the centres to settle their differences.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Carol Palmer, who also spoke at the session, said the new centres will be provided with staff and facilitators.

She indicated that community leaders in the areas where the new centres will be sited will benefit from sensitisation and training, to enable them to identify and resolve disputes or refer these for settlement.

Restorative justice is a system of justice that focuses on the rehabilitation of offenders through reconciliation with victims and the community at large.

The Government is looking to incorporate restorative justice procedures within the formal justice system through the Restorative Justice Bill now before Parliament. Debate on the Bill began in the House of Representatives on July 19.

Tuesday’s sensitisation session was the sixth held to equip participants with the necessary information and skills to better assist residents to access justice services in their communities.