The Future of Restorative Justice

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.

http://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/403d7ce1-d7e4-4157-95a8-37a125f23841?in=09:45:07

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.

For more information about Restorative Solutions or to contact Gary Stephenson.  Email neillyoung@restorativesolutions.org.uk

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What people say about Restorative Solutions

I'm so glad I am working with RJ. I don't know who would listen to me if it wasn’t for you.
A Person Harmed by Crime
RJ is very underrated and I certainly think we should be using it more.
A Professional who Referred Someone into our Service
Very satisfied – it’s been a great service. A worthwhile process for me and I hope for the offenders. Staff have been great and I would like to thank them.
A victim
It was the right thing to do. Both victims told me to let go of what happened. I didn't want to hear it but they both forgave me and said I should move on. I have taken that on and thought about it and I have come to terms with what happened. You've helped me significantly. It's as though my head has been lifted of a gigantic weight.
An Offender
Thanks for your time today. I feel like you understand R so well, I really hope you can help him to learn how to be happy.
Feedback from a family in East Kent
Restorative Justice offers a unique opportunity for victims and survivors to move on from and overcome the trauma that can be left with them after experiencing crime. I am exceedingly proud of the work that the team at Restorative Solutions do in supporting our community. We should always consider the needs of victims of crime and this service exemplifies that sentiment and allows so many to put behind them what can be the worst experience of their lives.
Marc Jones, Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner and Chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners.

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