The second annual Restorative and Community Justice (RCJ) Week will take centrestage Sunday, January 30 to Saturday, February 5, with several activities islandwide under the theme “Restorative and Community Justice Restoring Relationships; Building Communities”.
The disclosure was made by Justice Reform Coordinator in the Ministry of Justice, Beverley Little, at a Think Tank session at the JIS Tuesday January 25.
“Our goals are to educate the public and increase awareness of Restorative Justice (RJ), its philosophy, processes and practices. We intend to continue to promote and foster support for RCJ principles and practices particularly in our communities. We want to promote community ownership of RCJ through education, empowerment and collaboration,” Miss Little explained.
A National Church Service at Church on The Rock, Clifton Avenue, Kingston, commencing at 8:30 a.m on January 30 will launch the week. Church services will also take place in May Pen, Clarendon, at the Grace Baptist Church starting at 9:00 a.m. on January 30 and at the Granville Seventh-Day Adventist Church in St. James on February 5 at 11:00 a.m.
In addition, several RJ facilitators are scheduled to explore the theme of RCJ Week with a number of high school and college students, islandwide.
A re-socialisation exercise, targeting traumatised youths from three pilot communities and West Kingston, will be hosted at Morgan’s Harbour on February 3 by the Victim Support Unit of the Ministry of Justice.
“We are targeting students who have been exposed to violence and who might have gone through some kind of trauma,” Miss Little said.
She noted that there is an intention to include students from three of the pilot communities – May Pen, Spanish Town, Tower Hill and West Kingston.
“They are taken out of their normal environment and taken somewhere we consider restful and therapeutic, hence Morgan’s Harbour, and they talk about their experiences and there is counselling,” the Justice Reform Coordinator emphasised.
RCJ Week will culminate with a Grand Gala Concert at Emancipation Park on February 5 commencing at 6 pm. Some of the performers include the Hannah Town Drama Group, Prodigal Son, Kimelia Issacs and the Andrew’s Memorial Church Singers.
“We are inviting the public to join us; it is free of cost and you will really have a good time,” she said.
Restorative Justice provides alternative mechanisms for resolving disputes, by bringing victims, offenders, the community and the state together to work out problems arising from petty crimes, anti social behaviour, quarrels and other disagreements within communities.
CONTACT: ODETTE BARRON