Justice Minister: Society Must Find Other Ways to Resolve Conflicts
From Jamaica Information Service:
Justice Minister and Attorney General, Senator Dorothy Lightbourne, has emphasised the need for the society to find alternative ways of resolving conflicts and delivering justice, other than resorting to violence.
"The social and interpersonal relationships within our society have broken down over the years. To address the matter of crime and justice in Jamaica, it must be done against the background of the values exhibited in our heritage. Delivering justice will require a cultural shift from violence and crime as the means of dealing with conflict, towards community reconciliation, empowerment and equipping citizens and communities with new and peaceful means of resolving conflicts," she said.
In this regard, Senator Lightbourne stressed that strengthening public trust and confidence in the justice system was one of the "strategic objectives" of the Ministry, adding that the restorative and community justice process was one of the methods being used. This, she explained, was a community process which invited and facilitated full stakeholder participation and consensus that, "heals what has been broken, seeks full and direct accountability, bridges what has been divided, and strengthens the community to prevent further harm."
In another article:
Resident Magistrate for Manchester, Oswald Burchenson, said of the symposium that it was a "well needed and extremely timely discussion" on Restorative Justice.
He said that despite what has been happening in the criminal justice system, where a picture of gloom, hopelessness and despair could be easily painted, there were rays of light.
One of these rays of light was the pioneering role the Community Counselling and Restorative Justice Centre has been playing for the past six years in the Mandeville community, he noted.
He pointed out that the Centre has been actively working within the Mandeville community in three distinct areas: intervention; Restorative Justice; and preventative education.
"These beacons of light become more critical in our society for two simple reasons. The first is because of the sad reality that Jamaicans continue to lose faith in their criminal justice system, and the second is the rising rates of violent crimes and prison over population," he remarked.