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Community-based restorative justice protocols

25 July, 2006

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Policing and Justice MLA Gerry Kelly, has said that the publication of new protocols by Criminal Justice Minister removes the blockage to statutory agencies providing immediate and direct support for community-based restorative justice schemes.

Mr Kelly said:

"These protocols are going to be the subject of another lengthy consultation. However, these protocols do not relate to non-criminal matters or non-criminal anti-social behaviour which represents the vast majority of the work carried out by restorative justice programmes.This means statutory agencies are now able to engage fully in providing the necessary resources and financial support to community-based restorative justice programmes which are presently providing a valuable service, especially to those most disadvantaged and most alienated from the formal criminal justice system.

"Those who have been orchestrating a smear campaign against restorative justice programmes have been doing so for narrow party political interests. Their agenda and the attempts to politically vet those who are pioneering restorative justice on this island should not be allowed to threaten progress. The Human Rights community and those overseeing transformation of the justice system have all given their support for community-based restorative justice programmes." ENDS

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