RJ is not the same as Community Resolution
The Daily Mail (29.3.14) ran a piece about thousands of cases of serious crime (including rape) being dealt with by “Restorative Justice”. It claims that the police are using “Restorative Justice” as a sanction and many people guilty of serious offences are being let off prison.
But “Restorative Justice” isn’t being used in these cases. What is being described is a sanction available to the police which is Community Resolution. Restorative Justice is completely different to Community Resolution and we feel strongly that people writing for national newspapers and people active in public life (Jack Dromey MP was quoted in the piece condemning the figures) should really understand this.
Restorative Justice is an opportunity for a victim to talk to the person who has harmed them. It happens after the offender has been found guilty or admitted responsibility for the crime. It is NOT a sanction.
Community Resolution IS a sanction. Police officers use it to establish facts and to impose punitive measures against an offender. Sometimes the victim of the crime is present and has a say in this but not always.
It’s not the job of Why me? to comment about police sanctions or about the punishment of offenders in general. We are an organisation that exists with one interest only and that is to make Restorative Justice available to every victim of crime that wants it. We do this because it has been shown time and again that Restorative Justice is one of the most positive and helpful things that can be offered to those whose lives have been turned upside down by the criminal actions of another person.
It would be good if everyone were clear about this and not confuse debates about sanctions and punishments with “Restorative Justice” – a different concept entirely