KINGSTON, Jamaica - More than 5,600 Jamaicans across the island have been equipped with skills in restorative justice (RJ) better enabling them to prevent and manage conflicts.
Acting Director of the RJ Branch in the Justice Ministry’s Social Justice Division, Saccsha Ebanks, said the RJ facilitators in each parish have been instrumental in the training process.
“Every day our officers get the chance to participate in the healing of our nation. Every day they guide our clients towards achieving peace and harmony. Being trained in RJ practices enables citizens to prevent conflict and solve them when they arise,” she stated.
Over the last five years, 10,929 cases have been referred to RJ, and 2,451 conferences were executed in 2022/23.
Also, during the last fiscal year, 32,297 citizens were sensitised about RJ by the Ministry’s team, which has 20 locations islandwide.
“The courts have been our main referral source with 75 per cent of total referrals, followed by communities and the police with 13 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively. Over the period, approximately 9,350 conferences were completed with an average success rate of 87 per cent, meaning that eight out of every 10 RJ Conferences resulted in a successful agreement,” Ebanks said.
RJ seeks to resolve conflicts by having all parties involved come together to reach an agreement. The practice focuses on holding the offender accountable in a more meaningful way.
It aims to repair the harm caused by the offence, to reintegrate the offender into the community and to achieve a sense of healing for both the victim and the community.