Restorative Justice week
THE MINISTRY of Justice on Sunday launched its Restorative Justice Week 2015 with a national service of thanksgiving at the Church of God in Jamaica on Chapelton Road, in May Pen, Clarendon.
Among those who turned out for the service were Senator Mark Golding; custos of Mandeville, Sally Porteous; Justice Gloria Smith; and custos of Clarendon, William Shagoury.
The two-hour service saw some inspirational performances from the children's dance group performing Tasha Cobbs Break Every Chain, and Joan Cameron, giving a moving rendition of God Leads His Dear Children Along. But what stirred the mind and offered much food for thought was the message from Rev Michael Lewis, who made an analogy between the ministry's restorative justice programme and that of the Bible.
"Restorative justice began in the Bible," Lewis said offering Exodus 21 verses 25-36 as the evidence. He had strong words for those who go about hurting others.
"So many have turned a blind eye to the law of the land, more persons need to be held accountable for their actions and should not be allowed to walk freely," he said.
Rev Lewis encouraged more community interactions with the victims and offenders at an appropriate space where they can see eye to eye "speak about the hurt so that restorative justice can be properly addressed. It's about bringing about a change", he said.
Making reference to the court system being clogged up with cases, he said restorative justice and dealing with it on the community level could be the solution.
Among the activities for Restorative Justice Week are a restorative wellness activity at Boone Hall Oasis where 50 children in need of counselling will get "professional help in a serene surrounding". February 17 will see the launch of the Montego Bay Restorative Justice Centre at 49 Union Street.