Tuesday 20 October, 2020

Two ministries combine for juvenile restorative justice programme

Rudyard Spencer (file photo)

Rudyard Spencer (file photo)

The Ministry of National Security and the Ministry of Justice have combined their efforts to implement restorative justice measures in all four juvenile institutions under the National Child Diversion Programme (NCDP).

The announcement was made by Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Rudyard Spencer, on Wednesday at a stakeholders’ sensitisation session on the Child Diversion Act, 2018, at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus.

The NCDP is to facilitate the process of rehabilitation and reintegration for children who have run afoul of the law, by providing measures that include restorative interventions as conditions of application for pre-release.

Child diversion handles the implementation of measures to deal with children alleged as, accused of, or recognised as having infringed the penal law, without resorting to formal judicial proceedings.

“The programme will incorporate restorative justice in the DCS’ (Department of Correctional Services) curriculum by November 2019. A care plan with specific treatment guidelines for each child will be implemented, and we are working to ensure that at least one probation officer from each parish sits on the Child Diversion Parish Committee,” Spencer said.

Delroy Chuck (file photo)

Justice Minister, Delroy Chuck, called for continued support from the probation and aftercare officers towards the successful implementation of the programme.

He said staff at the DCS will be given the necessary training to ensure the system works properly.

“Leading up to the implementation of the NCDP, the necessary steps will be made to ensure that training and sensitisation is provided to staff members at the DCS. This will improve the ratio of case managers to children for effective and efficient management of care plans,” Chuck said.

Restorative justice involves a community-based approach to the administration of justice, and places focus on rehabilitation as a means of reducing the likelihood of children becoming re-offenders.

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