Members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) have been receptive to the efforts of the Restorative Justice Unit (RJU) towards raising awareness of the practices of restorative justice (RJ).
Ongoing sensitisation efforts are aimed at various groups, for instance school administrators, to inform them of preventative measures and using RJ as a tool to manage conflicts in schools.
Restorative Justice Coordinator, Andriene Lindsay, said the police are usually aware when a conflict is ongoing.
“They are aware that this is happening in the communities where these families are disoriented, things are not going well and things may escalate to crimes being committed. So, we really focus on the police,” she said.
Ms. Lindsay, in an interview with JIS News, noted that presentations were made to high-ranking members of the Force to impress the value of understanding restorative justice and its practices.
“We informed them that we would be reaching out to arrange sessions, and [since then] we’ve systematically arranged sensitisations across all of the police areas in Jamaica online. We were able to capture sometimes up to 75 police officers in one session, to complete those two-hour sensitisations online. Very interactive, very engaging and from that we did see an increase in the referrals to RJ post charge. So, that was very good,” she noted.
The Restorative Justice Coordinator added that police officers have shown appreciation for the work of the RJU.
“Police officers will even call when there is a matter arising to say you know we have this matter, is it something that RJ can assist and support the police with. That kind of response has been really good to be able to have that level of interaction with the police and to be able to get feedback from them after RJ intervention. Also, to know how we have impacted those different cases has been really good, really beneficial,” Ms. Lindsay said.
The JCF also works to endorse Restorative Justice and plays a role in ensuring as many of the officers as possible, are sensitised. Meanwhile, Ms. Lindsay said for the current fiscal year, the RJU is aiming to sensitise roughly 3,000 members of the police Force.
“We are aiming to sensitise at least a quarter of the Force since there are about 12,000 police officers across Jamaica. Over time, the Restorative Justice Unit would definitely love to sensitise all of the police Force since we are trying to capture as many policemen and [police]women as we can,” she added.