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Read our latest posts and join in the discussion on a range of subjects related to restorative practice.

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Reflections on a terrible week

20 June 2016

When I sit down to write my blogs I normally look back on the previous week’s news to get ideas and inspiration. But last week was unremittingly bleak, with the awful mass shooting in Orlando targeting members of the LGBT community and the tragic murder of the MP Jo Cox, all against a backdrop of the toxic political environment created by the EU referendum campaigns. Within this context, I’ve rarely felt less inspired to write something positive about anything.

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Does rehabilitation matter?

6 June 2016

On Friday, the Labour Campaign for Prison Reform (which doesn’t appear to be in any way formally associated with the party) published an article on the government’s plans for restorative justice. While it is broadly positive, it states that “for restorative justice to be worthwhile, it has to prevent prisoners from reoffending”. Given the renewed focus on rehabilitation in the justice system there is now significant support for this view. But is it right?

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The Laming review - what are the next steps?

23 May 2016

As I’ve written before, it’s a scandal that so many of the children who end up in custody have previously been in care. It’s therefore very welcome that the Prison Reform Trust has sponsored a year-long review into this issue, chaired by Lord Laming, which has reported today. It highlights the urgent need to address this issue if all children in care are to get the best start in life.

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What’s next? The RJC’s plans for the coming year

9 May 2016

From time to time I find it useful to take stock and to look at what projects we have on the go at the RJC, what we have coming up, and what we would like to do next. This helps to ensure that what we are doing is in line with our priorities and aims as an organisation, to check that we have the right balance of work, and to identify any gaps. A month or so into the new financial year we have been going through that process and I thought that it might be useful to share the highlights of our current work programme.

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Getting Ofsted engaged with restorative practice

25 April 2016

According to media reports over the weekend, the appointment of a new head of Ofsted is imminent. And while the people who are reportedly on the shortlist may not be familiar to most of us, this could be a very significant appointment for the future development of restorative practice.

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Do you need an offender for restorative justice?

11 April 2016

“I want to even out the power imbalance between us, to sit across the table on my terms and look into his eyes.” 

This quote, taken from a powerful excerpt from her forthcoming book, describes why Carmen Aguirre wanted to meet the man who had raped her as a teenager. This is in no way unusual. Many of the victims who I have spoken to have wanted to regain power and control, as an important step towards putting a crime behind them and moving on. 

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Why take part in restorative justice?

29 March 2016

As part of their current inquiry, the RJC and Why me? recently gave a joint briefing to members of the Justice Select Committee on restorative justice. It was an interesting and enjoyable session – an opportunity to discuss issues in a less straightened setting than when giving formal evidence. Amid a plethora of thought-provoking questions, one stood out as meriting further discussion.

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‘A question of quality’ – the Victims’ Commissioner’s report

23 March 2016

The Victims’ Commissioner, Baroness Newlove, published a report yesterday on restorative justice, the first of two considering its use. This one looks at the quality of service that restorative justice service providers are delivering, while the second will look at victims’ experiences. The focus of this report is welcome.

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Closing the gaps in restorative justice provision

15 March 2016

Last week, the RJC released the results of a mapping exercise of restorative justice provision in the criminal justice sector, carried out on our behalf by the Institute for Criminal Policy Research at Birkbeck University. This exercise was far from straightforward and the results are, as with any survey, limited by who was willing to respond.

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Restorative practice in schools - making it happen

29 February 2016

A couple of weeks ago the Peer Mediation Network published an open letter to Nicky Morgan, the secretary of state for education, calling for more action to promote the use of conflict resolution and restorative approaches within schools. The letter argues, rightly, that all young people will have to deal with conflict both at school and in later life, and that giving them the skills to do so positively and constructively should therefore be a higher priority.