JIS News

Tower Hill in St. Andrew has been added to the list of communities to benefit from a pilot project for the development of Community Justice Tribunals, as the Government moves forward with the implementation of the restorative justice policy.
Speaking at the opening of the Third International Conference on Restorative and Community Justice held today (May 27) at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Dorothy Lightbourne, said that the community will join Granville, St. James; May Pen, Clarendon; and Spanish Town, St. Catherine in the pilot.
Community Justice Tribunals, she explained, “are predicated on the principles of community justice and community involvement and empowerment. Community Justice Tribunals help the community repair the damage caused by crime and conflict through the use of restorative justice principles.”
The panels, she said, will serve to “elevate the position of victims and the community in the justice process and allow for direct participation of residents in responding to crime.”
Based on research and consultation, the tribunals, which will be presided over by Justices of the Peace (JPs), will not only resolve disagreements between citizens, but disputes which involve criminal offences as well.
Chief Justice, the Hon. Mrs. Justice Zaila McCalla, in her remarks, said the cries of “we want justice” are not going unheard. She stated that the full implementation of restorative justice policy “may achieve that seemingly elusive goal of a peaceful and secure society.”
“Principles and practices of justice that seek to pursue other avenues for justice to be administered could have a positive impact on the lives of countless citizens of our country,” she stated.
The two-day conference is being hosted by the Ministry of Justice under the theme: ‘Restorative Justice: Transforming Individual, Family, Community and Country’, as part of efforts to advance restorative justice in the island.
The purpose of the event, which has attracted JPs, representatives of faith-based organisations and law enforcement personnel, is to train a cadre of institutional and community leaders, who are capable of implementing the Community Justice Tribunals.
On the final day of the conference, a number of interactive workshops will be led by local and international facilitators, such as Dr. Grace Kelly from the Northern Caribbean University; and Professor Jennifer Llewellyn, and Danny Graham (QC) from Canada.
Among the topics for discussion are: ‘Establishing Effective Community Justice Tribunals in Jamaican Communities – Roles and Responsibilities of Government, Civil Society, Community, Media, Youth, JPs, and Faith-Based Organisations’; ‘Designing Services for Youth and Vulnerable groups’; and, ‘How to Move from Policy to Practice: The Opportunities for Applying the Policy and the Spectrum of Practices that could be Applicable to Jamaica’.
The conference is sponsored by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), which has pledged approximately CD$18 million ($1.4 billion) to the country’s justice initiatives.

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