For Restorative Justice Week 2008 (16th to 22nd November, 2008), CURB tackled the subject of domestic abuse in the national community including that perpetrated by ex-prisoners seeking to re-enter their families after a period of incarceration.
Our motto for the Restorative Justice Week 2008 observance was “Your Strength Is Not For Hurting”. CURB believes that it is important to impress upon boys and men in our society that their strength was not given to them by God to cause pain and suffering to women and children in their families and communities. Rather, their strength is given to them by God to protect their families and communities and to work diligently to provide for their loved ones.
In addition, CURB is aware that many young offenders come from families where they may have witnessed domestic violence being utilised as a means of resolving conflicts. We believe that no young person is disposable and intend to work towards providing an opportunity for them to change.
International research suggests that many young offenders are in need of new role models and life skills to unlearn the anti-social behaviour patterns into which they were socialised and to adopt new law-abiding restorative principles and patterns of conduct.
As such, CURB commenced a mentoring programme for young male offenders at the Youth Training Centre. Approval for the programme was granted by the prison authorities on Monday 17th November, 2008.
The Being Somebody programme is a pilot project whereby men in the community will be screened and trained as mentors for the young male offenders and will assist them during and after their detention in order for the young male offenders to successfully re-enter their communities. It will encompass counselling, education, vocational skills, life skills, sports, family reconciliation and employment for the young male offenders.
In addition, the Being Somebody programme will involve the intervention of the faith community in Trinidad and Tobago and professional counsellors to work with the families of the young male offenders to resolve family disputes, treat with employment needs, education/skills needs, and to provide other required support.
Churches desiring to participate in this and similar programmes of providing aftercare for offenders are encouraged to contact Caring for Ex-Offenders (CFEO).
In the media, CURB President, Adrian N. Alexander was interviewed by Donald Berment of Men Against Violence Against Women (MAVAW) on Wednesday 12th November, 2008 on 103 FM radio and advocated restorative justice to treat with domestic violence. On Sunday 16th November, 2008 Mr. Alexander interviewed social worker Darlene Smith on ISAAC 98.1 FM about restorative interventions to address family violence.
On Tuesday 18th November, 2008 Mr. Alexander delivered a Feature Address on restorative justice at the inauguration of the new Board of Directors of Vision on Mission which was covered by the local media. On Thursday 20th November, 2008 he spoke as part of a panel on youth offender rehabilitation on Acts 25 Television’s Youth Nation, highlighting the role of the community in restorative justice to support and restore crime survivors and offenders.
CURB Director, Wayne Chance, interviewed Mr. Alexander on I95.5FM on Friday 21st November, 2008 where he advocated community support for victims and offenders and he closed the week on Sunday 23rd November, 2008 with a radio programme on ISAAC 98.1 FM in which he disseminated information to empower victims of domestic violence and challenge the community to intervene and support victims and abusers alike.