This Restorative Justice Week we're asking "What would you do?"
14 November 2014
This year, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is supporting International Restorative Justice Week (16 to 23 November) by running a public awareness raising campaign.
The campaign, which is being supported by the Restorative Justice Council, WhyMe? and the Chris Donovan Trust, is called “What would you do?”, encouraging people to think about whether they would meet somebody who committed a crime against them.
Restorative justice (RJ) is the process of bringing together victims of crime and their offenders to discuss the impact of the crime, repair the harm and find a positive way forward. It offers victims the chance to be heard, get answers to questions and provide a sense of closure. It also forces offenders to face up to the impact of their behavior and in this way can help to reduce reoffending.
'Premier League villains' go straight after meeting victims
TWO “Premier League villains” have turned their lives around after coming face-to-face with their victims, a chief constable said today (Monday, November 17).
Durham Police chief constable Mike Barton said between them David Clark and Shaun Morton committed about 500 crimes a year.
But after taking part in a restorative justice scheme, both are now drink and drug free and volunteering with other addict criminals.
Sitting between Clark and Morton at a press conference at police headquarters, Mr Barton said they were among his force’s top ten criminals and called them “Premier League villains” but praised them for “turning their lives around”.
And the police chief revealed how he had taken restorative justice home with him, having Clark round for dinner.
“I can vouch for him when he says he’s drink free because when I served beef bourguignon, he wouldn’t eat it because it’s got red wine in,” he said.
Mr Barton was speaking at the start of the Ministry of Justice’s Restorative Justice Week.
Durham Police, working with others, invite criminals to meet their victims and discuss how they can put right their wrong.
Mr Barton said the scheme works because it taps into “the innate goodness in people”.
“People aren’t born bad. Nurture is far stronger than nature. Shaun and David didn’t want to be bad,” he said.
Mr Barton admitted crime was rising but said 90 per cent of victims of anti-social behaviour were happy with his force’s response and every one of 14 inspections this year has said “wow, something feels different here”.
The chief said restorative justice required courage from both offender and victim but could be used for any crime, including murder, death by dangerous driving and, with safeguards, domestic abuse.
He admitted it was more expensive than traditional methods but said it produced a “big payout” in reducing re-offending.
Mr Barton rejected suggestions it was a “soft option”, saying: “If people should go to prison, they should go to prison.
“Victims don’t want other people to be victims.”
Clark added: “I wasn’t getting anything out of it. I was already in prison.”
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird has also backed Restorative Justice Week, saying putting victims first is a very important priority for her.