“A process whereby all parties with a stake in a specific offence, resolve collectively how to deal with the aftermath of the offence and it’s implications for the future”
The Restorative Justice Services which was first established in Ireland in 2000, is a joint initiative between the Probation Service and the Local Community. It strives to reduce re offending by confronting the offender with the impact of their crime on others and, in particular, the victim. It embraces one of the fundamental tenets of the Probation Service: to ‘make good’ the harm caused by crime.
Restorative Justice brings together, everyone affected by a crime to decide how best to repair the damage caused.
In Restorative Justice, victims are given the chance to ask questions and to make the offender aware of the effects of their actions. They are afforded the opportunity to do this in a non-threatening environment.
The Restorative Justice work is primarily referred from the Courts prior to any formal sanction being imposed and participation must be on a voluntary basis only.
The aim of the programme is to help offenders take responsibility for their actions; to understand and to acknowledge the harm they have caused; to proffer an apology; make reparation and to encourage them to desist from any further offending behaviour.
The statistics as regards the success of these programmes have been very encouraging to date.
Whilst not suitable for every victim, every offender or indeed every offence, research has shown that, Internationally, Restorative Justice has made a very positive impact on recidivism rates and upon those victims of crime who chose to engage with the programme and embrace it.
Anarine McAllister, Solicitor
4th September 2018