Restorative justice process works says Judith Collins

New Zealand minister of Justice, Judith Collins is hailing the success of restorative justice conferences as a way to bring down crime rates.

She says it’s clear restorative justice conferences are a useful tool in keeping offenders from going on to commit other crimes.

“It’s estimated from the 1569 meetings held in 2011 and 2012, just over 1000 fewer offences have occurred as a result,” Mrs Collins told Radio New Zealand.

Ms Collins says there will be about 3,600 restorative justice conferences this year and that every district court now has the facility to to enable these meetings.

While the restorative conferences only take place if both parties agree to attend, Mrs Collins says she plans to increase the conferences over the next two years.

Mary Betts of the Auckland Diocesan Justice and Peace Commission welcomed the Minister’s comment.

She said the New Zealand Catholic Bishops in 2009 highlighted restorative justice as a means of reconciliation between victims and offenders, a successful way for offenders to realise the effects of their offending, and be less likely to re-offend.

On Monday a New Plymouth man, Jason Richards, 36, with 114 previous convictions, pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery.

Richards, along with two others was found guilty of getting another man drunk and drugged in an effort to rob him of $600.

The attackers, who king-hit their victim in a city park, found only his cellphone and $25 on him.

Richards’ lawyer is asking for time to look into the prospect of a restorative justice conference.

Restorative justice meetings take before sentencing between an offender and a victim, with a trained facilitator also present. The process provides victims a safe environment where they can tell then offender of their experience.



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