HC Deb 19 May 2003 vol 405 cc646-7W
Simon Hughes

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to introduce programmes based on restorative justice principles in prisons. [112153]

Paul Goggins

In its White Paper, Justice for All (CM 5563) the Government said that they were developing a national strategy that would consider the availability of restorative justice across all age groups and all stages in the criminal process. The Prison Service, in conjunction with the National Probation Service, and other stakeholders, is contributing to the development of that strategy. The Government will issue a consultation document on the development of Restorative Justice in the criminal justice system during the summer.

While awaiting the results of the consultation the Prison Service will continue to support the diverse range of restorative practices that are already taking place within prisons. The Prison Service is participating in Home Office funded pilot projects under the Crime Reduction programme which are testing the effectiveness of restorative justice at different stages, from caution through to custodial sentences. The final reconviction studies will be produced at the end of 2005 and these results will play an important role in the development of the long-term restorative justice strategy. Outside the pilots, direct victim-offender mediation work is taking place in a small number of prisons, victim awareness courses are also taking place and most prisons are involved in reparative projects where prisoners give something back to communities through activities such as Braille translation services, community artwork and refurbishment of wheelchairs.

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