In Jamaica, a New Home for Disputes

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Above: the opening of the new Restorative Justice Centre in Tower Hill, St Andrew (JIS Photo)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

A new initiative by Jamaica’s Ministry of Justice aims to prevent crime and harmful behaviour by encouraging members of the community to resolve their arguments through “restorative justice.”

Jamaica has opened its first Restorative Justice Centre in Tower Hill, St Andrew, one of four new mediation centres aimed at implementing alternative dispute resolution programmes in the country.

“The Ministry of Justice supports this innovative approach, one that encourages the offender to take responsibility for harmful behaviour in a meaningful way and to gain insight into the causes and effect of that behaviour on others,” said Justice Minister Sen. Mark Golding in a statement.

So-called restorative justice seeks to resolve conflicts between members of society in a bid to mitigate the effects of crime and violence that arise from typical disputes in the community.

“If there is a conflict between yourself and a family member, even a conflict with a stranger, please visit the centre and try to resolve the matter,” Golding said.

Restorative justice is a new paradigm introduced by the Ministry; three other such centres will open this week.