Tue | Mar 31, 2020

Restorative justice practices to be implemented in schools soon – Chuck

Published:Friday | February 7, 2020 | 10:32 AM
Justice Minister, Delroy Chuck (second right), speaks with Pembroke Hall Primary School student, Raphael Thorne (centre), at a restorative justice youth awareness forum held on February 5, 2020, at the school in St Andrew. Looking on are (from left) Programme Coordinator, Restorative Justice Unit, Andrine Lindsey, and Rickala Parish and Malik Scott from the John Mills Infant, Primary and Junior High School - Contributed photo

Justice Minister, Delroy Chuck, says the restorative justice practices will be implemented in schools shortly.

“We are hoping, beginning this year and over the next few years, to have restorative justice in every single school… we want to sensitise all the schools about restorative justice. We want to emphasise the need for teachers, students, parents to use restorative justice to solve disputes,” he said.

He was speaking with JIS News at a restorative justice youth public awareness forum at the Pembroke Hall Primary School in Kingston on Wednesday.

He said that in 2019, just over 600 teachers were trained as facilitators, and the process will continue this year.

 “We have been working with a number of partners to train at least three teachers in all schools across the island… . If we can train several thousand facilitators, they will be able to influence others in their communities,” he noted.

Restorative Justice Programme Coordinator, Andriene Lindsey, for her part, said that the programme is a long-term investment in the country’s future.

“We have focused on younger children because learning starts when you are very young, as their minds are impressionable at this age and today’s children are tomorrow’s adults. We want to instil in them those principles that will make them well-adapted adults in the society,” she said.

Held under the theme, ‘Supporting Peace and Unity in Our Community’, the interactive forum was one of several activities put on by the Restorative Justice Unit in the Ministry in observance of Restorative Justice Week 2020 from February 2 to 7.

The event sought to raise awareness about restorative justice practices and meaningfully engage with approximately 180 students from 35 primary and secondary schools across the Corporate Area.

Representatives from the St. Andrew and Trench Town Justice Centres, the Victim Support Division, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the National Secondary Students’ Council fielded questions from the students.

Restorative Justice is a process whereby all the parties with a stake in a particular offence come together to resolve the conflict and deal with the aftermath of the offence.

It seeks to repair the harm caused by the offence, help reintegrate the offender into the community and aims to achieve a sense of healing for both the victim and the community.

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