Police commissioner meets offender who says restorative justice has changed his life
Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner has met with an offender who says he’s turned his life around and improved his anxiety since apologising to the victim of the crime he committed.
David Keane met the offender during a visit to the offices of Remedi, the organisation he commissions to provide restorative justice (RJ) services across Cheshire.
Restorative justice is a process that enables victims and offenders to communicate with each to understand the impact the crime has had for them.
It gives offenders the understanding of the consequences of their actions and gives victims the opportunity to ask questions or have a better understanding of what the offender was thinking when they committed their crime.
Paul* told the commissioner how he had taken part in restorative justice following an assault he committed on a taxi driver.
He said that following his release from prison, he was feeling anxious about bumping into the person he assaulted as they both live in the same community.
Paul wanted to communicate with his victim and Remedi supported him to write a letter which told the victim why he committed the crime, what he was doing now and what his aspirations were for the future.
The victim said he was pleased to receive the letter and was grateful to hear Paul’s honesty.
Paul said: “At first, I was nervous about taking part in restorative justice, but Remedi supported me through the process and helped me a lot.
“I feel better for taking part in RJ and I am glad that the victim feels better too. It has helped me move forward following my offence and has improved my outlook on life.”
PCC David Keane added: “It was a pleasure to meet Paul and hear first-hand how restorative justice has benefited him as an offender and to also hear how it’s impacted the victim of his crime.
“Restorative justice is about repairing harm. It gives victims the opportunity to question why the offence took place and also challenges the offender to face up to the personal impact of their crime.
“There’s also clear evidence to suggest that when offenders successfully take part in the restorative justice process, they are less likely to reoffend.
“Research has also shown that from a victim’s point-of-view, they are less likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress after taking part in the process.”
Over the last 12 months, Remedi has supported almost 300 victims and offenders in Cheshire to find a positive way forward.
Lisa Gill, manager of Remedi in Cheshire, added: “It was great to highlight to the commissioner the work that is being carried-out by Remedi in Cheshire to improve victims’ lives and to give offenders the opportunity to repair the harm in their community.
“I am extremely proud of our team and the difference they make to people’s lives.”
*Offenders name has been changed to protect his identity