As Restorative Justice Week 2015 comes to a close, CURB wishes to highlight the agencies and organisations which made this year’s observance a tremendous success.
Our theme of “Communities Caring for Young Offenders” allowed us to partner with State, private and civil society agencies as we explored the current status of juvenile justice in Trinidad and Tobago.
We appreciate the partnership of Caring for Ex-Offenders (CFEO) and the Trinidad and Tobago Prisons Service together with whom we hosted a resoundingly successful Juvenile Aftercare Workshop on Wednesday 18th November 2015 for the benefit of representatives of faith and community based organisations. Due to the sterling presentations delivered by members of the Prisons Service, CFEO, Probation and CURB and the powerful testimony of an ex-lad, the attendees committed to supporting the upcoming aftercare initiative for lads at the Youth Training Centre.
Below is a copy of the programme for the Workshop. Look forward to a future blog post with photos and details about the Workshop.
Radio stations I95.5FM, Sky 99.5FM, Talk City 91.1FM and ISAAC 98.1FM gave us some coverage to ventilate some of these important issues. Among topics raised were the present controversy surrounding the remanding of young persons to the Youth Training Centre (YTC), St. Michael’s Home for Boys, St. Jude’s School and Female Prison, particularly since the proclamation of the children’s package of legislation in May 2015.
Other concerns were as to the manner in which we as a society readily criminalise our youth for behaviours in which we once engaged and which were corrected by disapproval of the community. The recourse to criminalisation exacerbates the hurt in young persons (many of whom come from dysfunctional families or challenged socio-economic circumstances), hinders them in their future endeavours as they have a “record” and stigmatises them in the eyes of the community.
Suggestions were made as to the need to ensure that victims’ needs and concerns are taken into account in case management planning for persons sentenced to community service or detention/incarceration.
Prior to and during the course of RJ Week 2015, CURB made contact with representatives of the Ministries of Social Development, National Security and the Attorney General to ascertain the intention of the current administration in relation to the implementation of the recommendations from the Ex-Prisoners’ Report, the promotion of restorative justice and the development of a national RJ policy.
We await an acknowledgement of our correspondence and a full response to our inquiries from the respective ministries.
Arising from the activities and discussions of RJ Week 2015, however, we in CURB are looking forward to partnering with other State agencies and civil society organisations to develop new and more restorative initiatives to improve the system of juvenile justice, especially as it relates to the needs and concerns of victims of crime and the wider community.