JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Justice has lauded the performance of the Restorative Justice (RJ) programme in Jamaica, and expects that it will serve as a model for other countries.
  • Speaking recently at a JIS ‘Think Tank’, Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, said that Jamaica is leading in the Caribbean region as it relates to the implementation of restorative practices.
  • The aim of the programme is to reduce recidivism, promote abstinence from substance use, and encourage and assist participants to lead productive lives, free from drug addiction.

The Ministry of Justice has lauded the performance of the Restorative Justice (RJ) programme in Jamaica, and expects that it will serve as a model for other countries.

Speaking recently at a JIS ‘Think Tank’, Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, said that Jamaica is leading in the Caribbean region as it relates to the implementation of restorative practices.

“We are behind some of the first world countries that have seen the need to use the practice, but we are ahead of many other developing countries. I think that our programme is going to be a model for other small and developing countries, as it has been for us in the drug court. Our drug court model has been used by other countries,” the Justice Minister noted.

The drug court model seeks to provide drug offenders with an alternative to substance abuse use through a holistic and therapeutic treatment process geared towards improving their social, vocational, educational and economic conditions. The programme provides an opportunity for drug-dependent offenders to benefit from court supervised treatment.  On successful completion of the programme, participants become eligible for graduation.

The aim of the programme is to reduce recidivism, promote abstinence from substance use, and encourage and assist participants to lead productive lives, free from drug addiction.

Minister Golding also highlighted that the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which has been funding the RJ programme in Jamaica since its inception, is very pleased with the outcome of the pilot.

“We were able to ensure that there is funding… [from IDB] for the expansion of the programme as part of  CSJP (Citizen Security and Justice Programme) III. I do think that it is helpful, and if we are able to roll it out on a timely basis and people get involved, it can be a transformational programme for Jamaica,” Senator Golding said.

Also citing the success of the programme was Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Carol Palmer.

“RJ is working for us and as it stands. Even without the legislation there have been requests for RJ intervention disputes that are before the court,” Mrs. Palmer said.

In 2008, four communities were selected as pilot communities – Granville in St. James; Effortvillle in Clarendon; Homestead, St. Catherine; and Tower Hill, St. Andrew. In April, 2012, three additional communities were added to the Restorative Justice Programme – Canaan Heights in Clarendon, and March Pen and Ellerslie Pen in St. Catherine.

The Restorative Justice Programme was further expanded in 2013 to four additional communities – Russia in Westmoreland; and Trench Town, August Town and Nannyville Gardens in St. Andrew.  Nine Restorative Justice Centres have been opened across those communities.

To date, 222 Restorative Practice facilitators have been trained. In 2014, some   35 trainers were certified and 80 stakeholders from teachers’ colleges, theological institutions, secondary schools and primary schools were certified in Restorative Practices.

Skip to content