April 2022 update – Restorative justice in the Oireachtas and Justice Plan 2022, open jobs in the field of restorative justice service provision
Restorative justice discussed in Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice
Restorative justice was discussed by TDs and speakers at a public hearing of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice on rehabilitative opportunities within the prison system. Martin Kenny TD raised evidence from other jurisdictions that restorative justice can benefit victims and reduce reoffending, including in serious cases. Molly Joyce from IPRT noted that victims and offenders’ interests aligned in terms of fairness and being heard, but that most people do not know about restorative justice. She argued that ‘it needs to be a much more cohesive, national system that exists across the entire criminal justice system’. Caron McCaffrey noted that the IPS is working on a strategy for restorative justice that includes inter-prisoner conflict, conflict between staff and prisoners, and conflicts between staff. Warren Graham, who made history by addressing the committee from Loughan House where he is in custody, said that people he knew had faced barriers when seeking restorative justice, but that uptake would be high among people in custody if it were available.
You can view this discussion here by skipping to 2:09 and listening until around 2:14.
Restorative justice referenced in Justice Plan 2022
Also last week, the Department of Justice published its Justice Plan 2022. Under Goal 3: Strengthen community safety, reduce reoffending, support victims and combat domestic, sexual and gender based violence, it states (p.31) that ‘We will continue to support employment opportunities for offenders and promote restorative justice at all stages in the system’ and lists ‘Deliver restorative justice safely and effectively’ as one of ‘eight strategic objectives to be prioritised over the next two years’. The relevant action (Action 98, p.33) to ‘Establish a mechanism to create awareness and availability of restorative justice at all stage of the CJ system with consistency of service ensuring quality in training and practice’ is to ‘Agree implementation plan’ in Q2 of 2022.
The Justice Plan also includes plans to ‘Convene and host an annual/biannual victim’s rights forum in Q2 and Q4’ (Action 107, p.35). This is a fantastic opportunity to use restorative practices to enable a meaningful exchange and build understanding and a strong relationship between victims’ advocates, services, policymakers and practitioners.
You can read the Justice Plan 2022 here. You can also find a database of policies referencing restorative justice – including the Justice Action Plan 2021-2023 and the Criminal Justice Sectoral Strategy 2022-2024 – on our website here.
Two jobs in restorative justice closing early April
We are publishing April’s update earlier than usual because two opportunities to work as restorative justice caseworkers will close shortly. First, Restorative Justice in the Community in Co. Tipperary is recruiting a full-time caseworker (deadline April 11th). Second, Restorative Justice Services in Co. Dublin is recruiting a full-time caseworker (deadline April 15th). Please share these roles widely to anyone you think may be interested!