The Cornmarket Project

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 

2015 (restorative activities)

Service details

The Cornmarket Project

Block A

Old County Hall

Spawell Road

Wexford

Website: https://www.wld.ie/the-cornmarket-project/ 

Email: pdelaney@cornmarketproject.com 

Tel:  053 9155800

Head of service 

Paul Delaney

Coordinator

Email: pdelaney@cornmarketproject.com

Tel: 053 9155800

Staffing structure

A restorative justice pilot project initiated in 2017 was guided by a Steering Committee with seven members from the Probation Service, the Cornmarket Project and the Gardaí. Five of the members were restorative justice facilitators and facilitated conferences under the project. A Restorative Justice Project Worker was appointed in October 2020.

Staff training in restorative justice 

For the RJ Pilot, all the Steering Committee attended IIRP-accredited training, organised by the Wexford Restorative Practices Partnership. In particular, 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 the University of Ulster (Tim Chapman). 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 courses delivered online by the European Forum for Restorative Justice.

The newly appointed Restorative Justice Project Worker trained as a RJ Facilitator and RJ Conference Facilitator, and trained in Restorative Approaches to Serious Harm and in Using Motivational Interviewing to Prepare People for Restorative Justice Interventions.

Use of volunteers 

Not applicable

Volunteer training in restorative justice 

Not applicable

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).

Annual budget

The total budget for the Cornmarket Project from all sources for 2020 was €1.7 million. Of this, €282,000 was provided by the Probation Service in 2020 towards the cost of the delivery of services by the Cornmarket Project. Of this amount, €40,000 was specifically granted towards the cost of employing a Restorative Justice Project Worker.

Nature of funding 

Annual

Organisational status 

Part of Wexford Local Development, which is a Charity and Company Limited by Guarantee.

Target client group

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 substance misuse related issues and are considered at medium-to-high risk of re-offending. 

Nature of offences

No specific categories

Source of cases

For general Cornmarket Project services, referrals come from statutory/voluntary agencies (i.e. Probation Service, Courts, Irish Prison Service, Health Service Executive, Department of Social Protection, Gardaí, GPs, Solicitors, Families and Self-Referrals.

Geographic area of activity

County Wexford

B.     Nature of RJ service

Model(s) of RJ services provided

  1. Victim-Offender Mediation   
  2. RJ Conferences

Main process elements and short description of each model that the service provides 

RJ Pilot Project

  • Six cases were initially selected, with the final selection of four primarily determined by how willing the victim and offender were to participate in an RJ conference.  Some of the six offenders were already linked in with and familiar to either the Probation Service or the Cornmarket Project. Where this was not the case, the Garda representative made initial contact with both the victim and offender about participation in the project. Four proceeded to an RJ conference while two did not. 
  • Facilitators spent a great deal of time preparing both offenders and victims for each conference.  This involved facilitators meeting with both the offender and victim individually and:
    • Explaining their role, restorative justice and the RJ conference process
    • Assessing readiness for the RJ conference
    • Answering any questions either party may have, etc.
  • On average, each victim and offender was visited 2.5 times prior to engaging in the RJ conference. In addition, there were many phone conversations to answer questions and to reassure.
  • The process differed for the four ‘conferences’, with three progressed as Victim-Offender Mediations (VOMs) and one as an RJ Conference. In both models, facilitators used a standard ‘Template’ or ‘Guide’ to conduct the meetings and agree on outcomes, with all present given time to have their say. The process involved the victim speaking first and, following this, the offender made his contribution.
    • For the RJ Conference, there were two facilitators, a victim representative and their support person, and the offender and their support person.   
    • For the VOMs, there were two facilitators, the victim and the offender.

Since the pilot 

A further ten RJ interventions took place subsequent to the pilot: four in the form of restorative conferences and six in the form of VOMs. 

Number and nature of cases (including pilot in 2017)

    • Number of cases referred:  16
    • Number of cases completed: 12
    • Number of cases incomplete:
      • Breakdown of reasons for incompletion: one victim moved to another county because of the traumatic effect of the offence; one victim withdrew from the conference late in the process due to illness; one case did not proceed because the victim changed their mind about participation; one case did not proceed because the offender changed their mind about participation.
    • Number with victim participation – direct: 6
    • Number with victim participation – indirect: 
  • Number without victim participation: 2
  • Number with community participation: 7
  • Number without community participation: 5
  • Nature of community participation: In seven cases, where there was no single ‘direct’ victim, a victim representative attended. In addition, both the offender and the victim representative had a support person in attendance. In the other five cases, a representative of a local community group attended.

 

Case profiles 

Offence type No.
Controlled drugs for sale or supply  5
Assault on a young female 1
Serious assault on a young female 1
Drug-related assault on another male 2
Theft of property 3
Total 12

 

Offender age

Age 19 21 22 23 24 26 28 30 Total
No. 2 2 1 2 2 1 1 1 12

Offender gender: All clients were male apart from one female who was aged 19.

Outcomes: In six cases, court outcomes had been reached before the Victim Offender Mediation or RJ Conference took place, and they were generally taken into consideration when reaching an agreement on next steps. In the other six cases, VOMs or Circles took place with completed agreements.

C.     Sources of further information 

Websites: 

Wexford Local Development 

Wexford Children & Young People’s Services Committee

Reports:

Paul Delaney (2018)

  • Summary Report – Restorative Justice Pilot in County Wexford