RJ and Us poster

On Monday 13th and Tuesday 14th October, 2014 the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago will host the country’s first national conference on restorative justice, titled “Restorative Justice and Us: Towards Policy and Practice”.

The Ministry of Justice interacted with stakeholders in both islands earlier this year as it sought their input on a Discussion Paper on a draft Restorative Justice Policy. Several agencies involved in aspects of restorative justice or criminal justice reform were invited to submit written feedback on the Discussion Paper in March, 2014.

Having been engaged in promoting restorative justice since our inception in 2005, it was an honour for CURB to submit comprehensive feedback to the Ministry at that time and direct them to additional research as well as past initiatives which comprise the national history of the development of restorative justice.

In July, 2014 the Ministry invited stakeholders to attend a Forum to discuss some of the feedback received and receive suggestions as to a way forward. CURB was unable to send a representative to that Forum. However, we requested in writing that our written submissions on the Discussion Paper on restorative justice from March, 2014 be read out at the Forum as our position on the issue.

Over the past several months, the Ministry of Justice has been publishing in the print and on social media a series of articles on various aspects of Restorative Justice. These articles are intended to help inform the public about restorative justice so as to reduce any possible resistance from society towards the implementation of this new paradigm. You can follow the Ministry of Justice’s posts on their Facebook Page here.

This month, the Ministry of Justice has coordinated this Restorative Justice Conference and has invited presenters from the Judiciary, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Prisons Service, Police Service and other State agencies. In addition, several civil society organisations have been asked to present from the perspective of crime survivors, prisoner support and ex-prisoner support agencies.

Of additional interest will be the perspectives to be shared by representatives of agencies in the United Kingdom and Jamaica, both of which nations have enjoyed a longer experience with restorative justice than has Trinidad and Tobago.

The Restorative Justice Conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.