Call for widespread use of restorative justice in Scotland
“Exploring alternatives” Holyrood.com
Following posted on 4.5.11
Tackling crime will be high on the new government agenda after the 5 May election. We ask that the new government gives serious consideration to undertake initiatives to support the widespread use of restorative justice across Scotland.
Restorative Justice is a victim-sensitive response to crime that provides safe ways for victims and offenders to communicate about what happened and agree on how amends can be made for the harm caused. Victims have a meaningful say and find answers that only offenders can provide; offenders hear the full impact of their crime and account to their victims about how they will avoid repeating the offending behaviour.
As a fundamentally innovative approach to crime and justice, restorative justice brings a number of benefits which are well evidenced in research and practice:
- Victims feel safer and receive a better experience of justice
- Offenders are held directly accountable to their victims and re-offending is reduced
- Value is added to the justice system.
There has been significant progress in Scotland and the challenge for the new government is to tap into the great potential for use of restorative practice, particularly in delivering effective community based sentences.
We, the undersigned, offer to support restorative justice initiatives of the new government that help victims to feel safer, hold offenders to account and increase confidence that justice is being done.
Tom Halpin, Chair, Criminal Justice Voluntary Sector Forum.
Professor Alec Spencer, Convenor, Scottish Consortium on Crime and Criminal Justice.
John Scott, Chair, Howard League for Penal Reform in Scotland.
Niall Kearney, Chair, European Forum for Restorative Justice.