Toshaos, probation officers benefitting from first restorative justice training
Restorative justice is integrated in the formal justice system and emphasis is being placed on ensuring that offenders, particularly those who commit minor offenses, are aware of options such as alternative sentencing.
So to do this, emphasis is being placed on training prison officers, probation officers, Toshaos and members of non-governmental organisations so that they can be equipped with the necessary knowledge to resolve or aid in coming up with solutions.
The first such training, which is being funded under the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) with support for the Criminal Justice System programme, commenced on Monday at the Police Officers’ Mess, Eve Leary.
Overall, the focus is the reduction of the use of pre-trial detention and increase the option of alternative sentencing.
In delivering the feature address, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall said restorative justice is not a concept that lies in isolation.
Rather, he said it can impact the lives of tens of thousands of citizens.
“Restorative justice allows you to interrogate the problem and to pull the problem out of the root,” Nandlall said.
The Attorney General urged the first cohort of the participants to be the “vehicle” in which the programme will be executed.
“You will be the pioneers…You will be directly involved in impacting in a positive way the lives of the tens of thousands of people that will benefit from restorative justice,” he said.
Through the restorative justice process, victims, offenders and the community are brought together to determine a way forward that promotes understanding and rehabilitation.
At the same time, the process seeks to repair harm by providing an opportunity to offenders and address their needs afterwards through recidivism.
Meanwhile, in her remarks, Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai highlighted that accessing the judicial system is a challenge for Amerindian people.
As such, she said the training, particularly of the Toshaos, will see community involvement in promoting restorative justice in the hinterland communities.
“Restorative justice while not a new concept now have an opportunity in our law,” Sukhai said.
Restorative justice does not apply to serious offences, including those which involves violence and children.