Restorative Justice is a process that aims to give offenders and victims of crime the opportunity to meet, discuss the impact of crime, and step towards reparation and putting things right.
Safer Mid Canterbury has delivered Restorative Justice Services for the Ashburton District Court since the initiative was started 19 years ago. When a person appears in court charged with an offence, the Judge may refer them for Restorative Justice after a guilty plea has been entered.
The process involves a pre-conference with the offender and victim, followed by a conference between both parties, where the harm is addressed and various plans or actions (outcomes) are agreed upon. Outcomes may include an apology, reparation payments and education. Community work for defendants and voluntary payments to local charities nominated by the victim can also be outcomes. Restorative Justice is a voluntary process for all parties and will not go ahead unless both victim and offender agree and it is determined suitable by the co-ordinator.
A detailed report will then go back to the judge for consideration when sentencing the offender.