The Labour Party made a commitment to “bring in a Restorative Justice Act to ensure it is available wherever victims approve it" in their manifesto (Labour party manifesto page 5:3). The Liberal Democrats manifesto pledged that they will “Champion restorative justice programmes, like Neighbourhood Justice Panels, which make offenders confront their behaviour and are more effective at reducing crime than traditional forms of punishment.” (Liberal Democrat manifesto page 75). Speaking at the Restorative Justice Consortium’s conference this year, Shadow Minister for Prisons Alan Duncan MP pledged to “urgently investigate what legislation or Ministerial edict might be necessary to see RJ implemented on a nationwide basis.”
Plaid Cymru have also pledged their commitment to Restorative Justice in their Westminster manifesto, building on their policy to replace ASBOs with a system of restorative justice, mentoring and conferencing. Plaid Cymru are the only party to pledge to introduce restorative practice into the education system, committing to train teachers in restorative processes.
The Green Party manifesto states their aim “to establish restorative justice as a key feature of the UK criminal justice system. While denouncing the crime, this deals constructively with both the victim and the offender. As a result, we would drastically reduce the numbers sent to prison, saving up to £8bn over the next Parliament.”
Lawrence Kershen QC, Chair of the Restorative Justice Consortium, said “RJC has been calling for legislation to increase victims’ access to Restorative Justice, and for greater use of restorative practices in schools and in the community. Government research shows that meeting the offender and telling them the impact of their crime both helps victims recover and reduces re-offending. We’re delighted to see recognition from all the main parties that Restorative Justice works. As we become the Restorative Justice Council, the quality assurance body for restorative practice, we look forward to working closely with any future Government to get the detail of legislation right and to ensure the quality of Restorative Justice for the well being of all participants.”
For further information go to RJC's website.