This is big news from the United Kingdom, where national legislation is being considered to allow restorative justice for victims of adult crime. The Restorative Justice Council in UK sent this news flash out in a recent email:
In plans published today, new legislation for restorative justice with adult offenders and their victims will be introduced through an amendment to the Crime and Courts Bill. This is part of the Government’s response to the Punishment and Reform: effective community sentences consultation.
The new clauses will allow the Courts to defer at the pre-sentence stage in order for the victim and offender to be offered restorative justice at the earliest opportunity. This is the biggest development for restorative justice in England and Wales since legislation introducing referral order panels to the youth justice system in 1999.
Announcing the new legislative provisions Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "For far too long, the Criminal Justice System has been centred on the offender - victims often feel they don't have a voice. Restorative justice gives victims the chance to confront criminals face to face with the very real consequences of their crimes. This isn't a soft option. This is about more rights for victims. And it has been proven to reduce reoffending too."
The Restorative Justice Council, with RJC members and our partner organisations including the Prison Reform Trust and the Criminal Justice Alliance, have campaigned for legislation for over two years. We are particularly grateful to members of the House of Lords who tirelessly put the case for legislation during debates on the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill.
The Restorative Justice Council will work closely with the Ministry of Justice, the Magistrates Association and the Sentencing Council, to ensure the legislation is implemented and the judiciary receive the guidance they need. The RJC will continue working to ensure that, once offered restorative justice at the earliest opportunity through this legislation, victims are able to opt-in at a time that is right for them.
More information about the new proposed legislation can be found here.