A. Service overview and contact details
Focus of restorative justice activities
The Cornmarket Project supports those who have come into contact with the criminal justice system, people in contact with the Probation Service, those with criminal convictions, ex-prisoners and those with substance misuse related issues. Services are generally available to adults considered medium-to-high risk of re-offending. Cornmarket offers a restorative justice service as part of its range of supports.
Year of commencement
The Cornmarket Project was established in 1999 with restorative justice activities commencing in 2015.
The Cornmarket Project, Block A
Old County Hall, Spawell Road, Wexford
Tel: 053 9155800
Head of service
Paul Delaney, Coordinator
Tel: 053 9155800
A restorative justice pilot project initiated in 2017 was guided by a Steering Committee with seven members drawn from the Probation Service, the Cornmarket Project and An Garda Síochána. Five of the members were restorative justice facilitators and facilitated conferences under the project. A Restorative Justice Project Worker was appointed in December 2020 and took up the post in January 2021.
Staff training in restorative justice
For the restorative justice pilot, all the Steering Committee attended IIRP-accredited training, organised by the Wexford Restorative Practices Partnership. Four RJ facilitators from the Probation Service and the Cornmarket Project attended IIRP’s 3-day RJ Conference Training. In addition, a workshop on the challenges of preparing for a restorative justice conference was held for the Steering Committee members, facilitated by Tim Chapman (Ulster University). In 2020, eight members of the Cornmarket Project team undertook training in (i) Introduction to Restorative Justice, and (ii) Restorative Responses to Serious Harm. Both of these courses were delivered online by the European Forum for Restorative Justice.
The newly appointed Restorative Justice Project Worker trained as an RJ facilitator (Victim-Offender Mediation and RJ Conferences), in Restorative Approaches to Serious Harm and in Using Motivational Interviewing to Prepare People for Restorative Justice Interventions.
Use of volunteers
Volunteer training in restorative justice
Main source(s) of funding
Department of Justice via the Probation Service, Health Service Executive, Department of Social Protection, Rethink Ireland and the Kick Start Fund (Probation Service).
The total budget for the Cornmarket Project from all funders for 2022 was €1.9 million. Of this, €282,000 was provided by the Probation Service, €40,000 of which was new funding specifically granted towards the cost of employing a Restorative Justice Project Worker.
Nature of funding
The Cornmarket Project is part of Wexford Local Development, which is a Charity and Company Limited by Guarantee.
Target client group
The target group for the Cornmarket Project are adults who have come into contact with the criminal justice system, people in contact with the Probation Service, those with criminal convictions, ex-prisoners and those with issues related to substance misuse and are considered at medium-to-high risk of re-offending. Restorative justice options are available to all Cornmarket Project clients.
Nature of offences
No specific categories.
Source of cases
Probation Service, Courts, Gardaí, Solicitors.
Geographic area of activity
B. Nature of RJ service
Model(s) of RJ services provided
- Victim-Offender Mediation and RJ Conferences
- Bespoke interventions
Main process elements and short description of each model that the service provides
Victim-Offender Mediation and RJ Conferences
Facilitators meet the offender and victim individually to:
- Explain their role, restorative justice and the RJ process
- Assess readiness for the RJ process
- Answer any questions
Typically, each victim and offender is visited in person 2.5 times prior to engaging in the RJ event. In addition, there are several phone conversations to answer questions and to reassure.
In both models, facilitators use a standard ‘Template’ or ‘Guide’ to conduct the meetings and agree outcomes. The process involves the victim speaking first followed by the offender. The RJ Conferences usually involve two facilitators, a victim or victim representative and their support person, and the offender and their support person. VOM generally involves two facilitators, the victim and the offender.
A small group involving the victim, offender and two trained RJ staff meet to try to reach a conclusion. To date, Circles have typically been used to deal with more serious issues of wrong-doing i.e. assault, theft etc. among clients of the Cornmarket Project that cannot be resolved through the normal interventions of key workers.
In some cases, RJ staff have met with the offender and victim individually and the outcomes have included 1) the offender sending the victim a letter of apology, 2) the offender making a donation to a charity of the victim’s choice, 3) the offender undertaking voluntary work in the community by way of reparation. All these bespoke interventions were carried out using a RJ approach and were concluded by way of a contract.
|Number of cases referred||9||11||19|
|Number of cases completed||4||4||5|
|Number of cases incomplete/in train||5||7||14|
|Number with victim participation – direct||4||4||7|
|Number with victim participation – indirect||1||3||8|
|Number without victim participation||4||4||4|
|Number with community participation||2||2||5|
The new position of Restorative Justice Worker was not filled until December 2020 and therefore the new RJ service did not become operational until January 2021. Figures for January-December 2021 are included to give a more accurate picture of activity levels and include cases carried over from 2020 and still active in 2021. However, it should be noted that the number of cases incomplete/in train also reflects the cumulative disruptive effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the activities of the RJ service over the course of 2020/2021.
Reasons for incompletion include the disruptive effects of the pandemic, victims moving to another county, victims withdrawing due to illness, and victims or offenders changing their mind about participation. As regards community participation, in cases where there was no single ‘direct’ victim, a victim representative attended and both the offender and the victim representative had a support person in attendance. In other cases, a representative of a local community group attended.
|Drugs – sale or supply||4||5||7|
|41 and over||1||0||3|
Outcomes: In nine cases, court outcomes had been reached before the Victim Offender Mediation or RJ Conference took place. 13 concluded with finalised agreements. 11 other cases are at the preparation stage or are not yet completed.
C. Sources of further information
Paul Delaney (2018) – Summary Report – Restorative Justice Pilot in County Wexford