High Court Judge and Chairman of the Mediation Board of Trinidad and Tobago, the Honourable Madame Justice Lisa Ramsumair-Hinds, has reiterated her support for restorative justice practices, saying they are one of the most suitable practices which allows victims a voice”.
Madame Justice was part of a Panel Discussion titled, “Defining the Evolution of Restorative Justice in Trinidad and Tobago (Prison Service): Implementations, Advancements and Expectations throughout the chronological sphere”, which is part of the Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service’s observance of Restorative Justice Week 2022 (RJWeek).
The event took place on Monday November 21, 2022, at the Prisons Sports Club, Arouca.
Other panellists included Commissioner of Prisons (Ag) Deopersad Ramoutar; Research Assistant, Penal Reform & Transformation Unit, Walter Alexander; Prisons Officer I Dexter De Bellotte; and Chairman of Prison Fellowship of Trinidad and Tobago, Pastor Daniel Parks.
Commissioner Ramoutar, who is an avid advocate for restorative approaches to justice, spoke of deficiencies within the Prison Service and highlighted several initiatives—such as emotional intelligence and conflict management training—which are being undertaken to facilitate rehabilitation of inmates, some of whom he believes are “ready for discharge”.
According to Commissioner Ramoutar, restorative justice is not entirely up to the prisons but involves engagement from several different factions of society.
Commissioner of Prisons (Ag), Deopersad Ramoutar, during his presentation at the Prison Services Restorative Justice Week 2022 observances. [Image courtesy T&T Prison Service]
“The Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service maintains its commitment to seek the best ways and means to effectively practice restorative justice approaches within its penal operations, for successful restoration of inmates and eventual reintegration into society,” he stated.
Though practiced for many years in Trinidad and Tobago, the concept of Restorative Justice was formalised in 2002, with the Final Report of the Cabinet Appointed Task Force on Prison Reform and Transformation.
Research Assistant in the Prison Service’s Penal Reform & Transformation Unit, Walter Alexander, observed that many recommendations in the 2002 Task Force Report are unused but still are relevant today, 20 years later.
Prisons Officer I Dexter De Bellotte highlighted the psychological effects and impacts of Restorative Justice.
Chairman of Prison Fellowship of Trinidad and Tobago, Pastor Daniel Parks, spoke of the important role faith-based organizations can play in such initiatives.
Restorative Justice Week starts every third Sunday of November. It seeks to honour and propagate the ethos of justice, based on the restoration of human connection.
The Prison Service uses the week to raise awareness of the activists and organisations working for restorative justice, criminal justice legislation and penal mediation.
Restorative Justice Week also provides an opportunity to promote the expansion of research for innovative practices; to push for policies that support it; and to provide a forum for discussion on best practice initiatives.
Credit: Source link