About 'Restorative Justice'
There is a banner over the door of every project workshop saying 'Inside Out Trust - Restorative Justice at work in prisons'. So what exactly is this movement which has been gathering pace all over the world in recent years?
justice began mainly as a way of bringing together the different people
involved in a particular crime - the offender and victim, their
families and communities, and such professionals as police and
probation officers. To this end they meet in a very carefully
controlled environment where the victim can get direct answers to
questions such as `Why me?' And the offender can explain, apologise,
and try to make amends. This experience has shown that reoffending
rates can be very much lower when young first-time offenders understand
the results of their behaviour, and what pain they have caused.
Out fits in here because of its commitment to mediation between
offenders and society. For us, 'restorative' means giving prisoners
chances to compensate for their past behaviour by helping whole
communities through their work. This also helps spread the idea that
past offenders can be good citizens.
The lifer from Frankland
working in an IOT project workshop summed it up perfectly when he said
'I've taken a life. I can't spend all day every day saying how
remorseful I feel but this gives me a chance to put something back, to
pay my respects to society'.
Another charity uses the strap line 'prevent the next victim'. I think our work can contribute to that aim.
Please visit www.restorativejustice.org.uk
Photo credit: Cell window with artist's brushes, by Brian