The Future of Restorative JusticeMonday 25th April 2016
Gary Stephenson, Chief Executive of Restorative Solutions, shares his thoughts on the Justice Select Committee's Inquiry into Restorative Justice
So on the 19th April I was asked, on behalf of Restorative Solutions, to give evidence to the Justice Select Committee’s inquiry into Restorative Justice. The committee is looking at the effectiveness of Restorative Justice, the progress that has been made towards the Ministry of Justice’s action plan and the obstacles facing the delivery of high quality Restorative Justice.
You can see my evidence that I gave to the Justice Select Committee below.
It is still early days for Restorative Justice, within the criminal justice system. The impact of this practice still needs more time to embed. We know that it needs the support of legislation, guidance and resources, but that is only half the challenge, we also need to encourage front line staff who work with victims and offenders that Restorative Justice can support victims to have a voice and also that it will reduce re-offending.
Restorative Solutions work across 15 Police and Crime Commissioners areas and it would be fair to say that the service we offer is not the same in each area, and neither it should be. Restorative Justice needs to be able adapt to ensure that it is effective, for the individuals involved. It’s just seems a shame that too many victims are not being offered Restorative Justice, through a lack of understanding and we as providers need to do more to educate those who work with victims and offenders of the benefits.
I am quite clear that Restorative Justice is an entitlement for victims and that it is crucial that we move to a different model for referring them into the service. I would like to see it offered to all victims and them to be given the opportunity to opt out, this way they can make an informed decision about whether it is right for them
This Inquiry into Restorative Justice is a real opportunity for us to question how we deliver our services. At the centre of what we are endeavoring to do is to ensure that the voice of the victim is heard and that they are listened to. I have also written again to the committee outlining the benefits of RJ and attached three supporting papers.