The Ministry of Justice is embarking on a major sensitisation drive with all its Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) programmes, offered free of cost to the public.
Portfolio Minister, Delroy Chuck, made the disclosure during the sitting of the House of Representatives, on September 13.
ADR programmes include restorative justice, child diversion programme and mediation.
Chuck informed that in addition to the success in Restorative Justice matters, the Victim Services Division has counselled 13,674 new and follow-up clients for the period January to December 2021.
For the period January to July 2022, a total of 8,025 new and follow-up clients have been seen.
“The Child Diversion Programme is steadily picking up steam and we continue to encourage the Courts and the police to refer children to the programme. We have excellent treatment plans for the children in the programme, administered by over 23 of the best counselling and clinical psychologists across the island,” Chuck said.
The Ministry is also conducting training to increase the number of Restorative Justice facilitators, in order that every parish will have trained personnel in Restorative Justice principles and to be available for Restorative Justice circles.
Restorative Justice circles are the mechanisms that enable parties to meet and settle their conflicts.
“It is important that Restorative Justice should be available in every corner of Jamaica and this successful mechanism should not only be known but should be utilised. Amazingly, while we have not been able to fully educate Jamaicans about Restorative Justice, other countries are aware of the success of our programme,” Chuck said.
He added that Indonesia, Nigeria, Australia, and a few other countries are in touch, noting that Indonesia proposes to send a 15-member delegation to Jamaica to get a first-hand look at the country’s programme.