Source: (2001) In, Brian Williams (ed.), Reparation And Victim-Focused Social Work (pp 34-44). London, UK: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
In January 1998 the Belgian Federal Minister of Justice decided to start a research project in six different Belgian prisons with the objective of finding out whether there is a place for restorative justice in the prison setting. And if so, how can victim needs and restorative activities be integrated during the detention period. Action-research was the method to be used in this project. The project workers have to explore and try out the possibilities in “their” prison in a permanent discussion with the professional partners in the prison: governors, security personnel, social welfare personnel…
The involvement of all these people in the development of the project is crucial since it is focused on changing attitudes and traditions within the prison setting. After years of total isolation and denial of the victim in the prison, we try to rebuild bridges. We try to open different ways to respond to victims’ and offenders’ needs to cope with the consequences of the offence and the criminal procedures they both went through.
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