Tabling an amendment for Restorative Justice
Why me?, alongside the Criminal Justice Alliance, are working with Baroness Molly Meacher on an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which promotes Restorative Justice.
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is facing scrutiny in the House of Lords, having passed through the Commons. The Bill addresses many aspects of the criminal justice system, but does not propose any changes regarding Restorative Justice. We view this as a missed opportunity, especially given the work of the recently formed All Party Parliamentary Group on Restorative Justice, the popularity of our #RJPledge among Police & Crime Commissioners, and the growing body of evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of restorative interventions for everyone affected by crime.
The amendment calls on the Home Office and Ministry of Justice to prepare a Joint Action Plan on Restorative Justice every three years. The text of the tabled amendment reads:
PART 2 PREVENTION, INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF CRIME CHAPTER 4 OTHER PROVISIONS (AFTER 54.)
The Secretary of State for Home Affairs and the Secretary of State for Justice must, every three years:
- Prepare a joint Restorative Justice Action Plan for the Criminal Justice System, which aims to improve access, awareness, capacity and evidence of the use of Restorative Justice and practices, and
- Lay a copy of the Action Plan before Parliament, and
- Report on progress against that Action Plan to Parliament.
This amendment has gathered a number of high profile supporters in the House of Lords, including former Government Minister David Blunkett, the Lib Dem Justice spokesperson Jonathan Marks, and former Victims’ Commissioner Helen Newlove. It has also been vocally supported by Conservative Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne OBE, who is a passionate advocate of Restorative Justice.
This amendment will be voted on in the Bill’s Report Stage in October, and we are optimistic that it will be sent back to the House of Commons for MPs to consider.
Restorative Justice is a common sense approach to crime which allows victims to have their voices heard and their questions answered, while giving perpetrators the opportunity to appreciate the harm they have caused and change their behaviour. We are grateful for the cross-party support which is helping to drive change on this issue.
Baroness Meacher said: “I have been convinced for many years of the value of Restorative Justice, which is why I am tabling this amendment. The aim is to increase and improve its use by ensuring regular national action plans are produced by the Home Office and Ministry of Justice. This will also help to raise awareness of how Restorative Justice and practices work more widely with the public and across the criminal justice sector.”