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Ministries Sign Restorative Justice MOU

The Ministry of Education and Youth is partnering with the Ministry of Justice to use restorative justice practices in the school system.

Speaking at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two Ministries, at the Ministry of Education and Youth, in Kingston, on May 3, Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, said the system has been used largely by the Courts, with positive outcomes for both victims and those who commit wrongs, particularly in situations where persons are known to each other.

“This partnership will bear enormous fruits in our schools. We have a programme which has been extremely successful, and we promote it as justice that heals,” Minister Chuck told the ceremony.

Restorative Justice is a procedure that brings all the parties with a stake in a particular offence, to resolve the conflict, and deal with the aftermath of the offence. It seeks to repair the harm caused by the offence, help reintegrate the offender into the community, and aims to achieve a sense of healing for both the victim and the community.

For her part, Minister of Education and Youth, Hon. Fayval Williams, said the Ministry will continue to provide and promote best practices in conflict resolution and “enhancing community cohesion” given the recent spate of violent conflicts among students.

“Today’s MOU signifies the continuation and expansion of a long-standing working relationship with respect to preventing and reducing conflicts in educational institutions, extending to homes and communities at large,” Minister Williams said.

She added that the Ministry of Justice will lead the training across 104 schools for 3,120 trainees, including school educators/administrators, students and parents, adding that the “overarching aim” is to build capacity of restorative practices across Jamaica, with a focus on school administrators, and children and parents.

“This is to support and promote the development of trusting relationships between schools, students and parents; to support an atmosphere of open, honest and genuine dialogue among all stakeholders; to facilitate development of key stakeholders in the education sector, in providing community-building strategies and viable alternatives to detentions and exclusions,” she said.