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Restorative Justice in Cleveland

Restorative JusticeWhat is Restorative Justice?

Restorative Justice (RJ) is the process which brings victims and offenders together to discuss their account of the same incident, with the aim of putting victims back in control and presenting offenders with the consequences of their actions. Restorative Justice holds offenders to account for what they have done and helps them understand the real impact, take responsibility and make amends for their actions.

The RJ agenda aims to:

    • Improve victim satisfaction
    • Reduce re-offending
    • Restore confidence in the police and Criminal Justice System (CJS)
    • Promote effective community engagement
    • Tackle low level crime and disorder
    • Deal with anti-social behaviour effectively
    • Promote ‘Respect’ Agenda 


Ministry of Justice research has shown that Restorative Justice can benefit both the victim and the offender. Evaluation of pilots found that RJ was associated with an estimated 14% reduction in the frequency of re-offending. The evaluation also found that 85% of victims that participated in the 'conferencing' method were satisfied with the experience.

Restorative Justice was launched in Cleveland in April 2013 as an alternative means of disposal for a number of offences committed by individuals who are under 18 years of age.

The main focus was to enable low level crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour to be dealt with instantly or by an ‘on-street’ disposal. Examples of some of the methods used when undertaking an RJ intervention include; face to face apology, letter of apology and a written assignment. A number of case studies can be seen in a later section below. Offences covered by RJ are: Other Theft & Burglary, Vehicle Crime, Common Assault, Criminal Damage/Arson, Minor Robbery, Minor Drug Crimes, Antisocial Behaviour, Public Order, Harassment and Neighbour & Family Disputes.

From April 2014, the scheme was extended to incorporate Restorative Justice for adults who have an appropriate, non offending background, and have been ‘clear’ of any criminal sanctions for the two years prior to a crime being reported

 

Restorative Justice in Cleveland 2013-14

From April 2013 - March 2014, there were 579 crime occurrences that were dealt with by means of a RJ outcome. The table below shows how the number of interventions breaks down within Cleveland’s local policing areas.

 

Month

Hartlepool

Middlesbrough

Redcar & Cleveland

Stockton

Total

April

2

4

6

15

27

May

8

12

14

18

52

June

6

15

13

10

44

July

6

12

12

27

57

August

15

9

1

14

39

September

15

12

9

21

57

October

12

13

11

21

57

November

8

20

12

16

56

December

5

17

10

23

55

January

8

12

6

16

42

February

4

12

8

16

40

March

5

19

7

22

53

Total

94

157

109

219

579

 

 

Restorative Justice Case Studies (Under 18s)

Case Study 1

A victim in Middlesbrough called the police as their living room window had been smashed. The suspect was identified as a 13 year old juvenile from the local area. The suspect was spoken to by the police, admitted causing the criminal damage and apologised. The suspect had no previous convictions and the victim was highly supportive of using Restorative Justice to deal with this incident. The suspect, in the presence of his mother and the police officer, apologised to the victim and offered to pay for the broken window. The victim was content with the apology and payment for the damage caused.

Case Study 2

An adult male called the police stating his 12 year old daughter had been assaulted at school and had bruising to her legs. It was stated she had been assaulted by a 12 year old male whom she knew, who intentionally kicked her legs. The suspect was identified and officers went to his home and spoke with the male in front of his parents. The male, previously not known to the police, was sorry for what he had done. He said that he and the female were arguing, which ended up getting heated and he lashed out and kicked her, which he regretted. The victim and her parents were supportive of dealing with the offender through the restorative justice process and requested a face to face apology from the male. This was arranged and the male, with his parents, met with the female, and her parents, and apologised for his actions.

Case Study 3

The police received a call from a concerned parent that two 11 year old girls had been stealing from a shop in the Redcar and Cleveland area as she had found stolen sweets in a bedroom. The children admitted taking the sweets from a shop without paying. The adult didn’t want anything to happen to the children through the Criminal Justice System, but would like them to learn about the wrongs of what they had done. The police identified the shop manager who agreed for the girls to visit the shop and apologise. The shop manager and officer spoke with the girls and discussed the implications of shoplifting. The girls' family members were in agreement with the RJ approach.

Case Study 4

The police received a report of a theft from a Middlesbrough shop and 2 juvenile males had been detained. When the police arrived, the 2 males, who were 16 and 17 years old, admitted stealing items of clothing worth £12 by concealing them in their own rucksack and then attempting to leave the store. Police systems showed both males had no criminal record and were of good character. It was decided by the store manager not to have the males arrested but to be dealt with by means of Restorative Justice. Both males were tasked to write a letter of apology to the store manager. Within the letter they had to include the effect shoplifting has on retailers, the effect shoplifting has on society, and the effect of their actions upon their family.

 

Feedback from victims and perpetrators who have taken part in Restorative Justice

 

Victims Feedback

  • "The meeting was carried out in a very calm and reassuring manner. Officer was very clear in the way that he explained the procedure and reason for the RJ intervention"
  • The caller is really happy there has been no further problems and wishes she had contacted the police earlier. Caller feels it was exactly what the suspect needed - police intervention without criminalising him.
  • "It was fantastic"- Caller was overall very happy with the experience and glad it has solved the bullying issue in a fair way.
  • Caller would recommend it for other offences like hers (theft) as she felt it was too minor to have to go to court for.

 

Perpetrator Feedback

  • "Went really well, lesson was very much learnt"
  • "Disappointed in myself, glad got chance to say sorry"

 

 

 
 
 
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