RJ Week 2014 – Inspiring Innovation

For the 2014 observance of Restorative Justice Week, CURB was honoured to partner with the Ministry of Justice and the Trinidad and Tobago Prisons Service to promote true restorative justice to the population of Trinidad and Tobago via the various media houses.

The partnership was arrived at in the aftermath of the first national conference on Restorative Justice which was hosted by the Ministry of Justice on 13 and 14 October 2014. Following the clear and unambiguous presentation by CURB at the conference outlining restorative justice, it was felt that there was a need to ensure that the public had a clear understanding of true restorative justice before they were approached by the State to “buy in” to the philosophy.

A representative of CURB appeared on 2 television interviews and 5 radio interviews with a representative of the Ministry of Justice or Prisons Service. Also involved in the planning and participation in media interviews was Victim Support Foundation.

Due to scheduling challenges, the interviews spanned a period of 2-3 weeks and therefore had greater impact and coverage beyond International Restorative Justice Week which was observed from 16-23 November, 2014.

The interviews allowed for promoting the philosophy of restorative justice, its benefits to victims of crime, its possible impact on the administration of justice and its effects on offenders and the community.

On all of the interviews, there were many questions asked by media professionals and callers. We were able to share how restorative justice can apply in a variety of situations, including those involving serious offences such as murder, kidnapping as well as those of a domestic or sexual nature.

We look forward to seeing what the Ministry of Justice will do as it continues to fulfil its mandate to transform the criminal justice system. As long as they remain committed to rolling out true restorative justice, CURB shall continue to partner with them for the good of our national population.

On its own initiative, to commence Restorative Justice Week 2014, CURB participated in a sensitisation session on restorative practices at the invitation of the staff of a primary school. Our representative was able to use a variety of training techniques to explain restorative justice, restorative practices and to simulate a restorative circle.

The feedback from the staff, parents and others in attendance was very positive and they now view restorative justice and restorative practices as a viable solution to address the multiple challenges being faced in educational settings.