Several Government Ministers, Police and Joint Services Officials, along with members of the diplomatic corps, attended this morning’s much-anticipated launch of the Restorative Justice Centre of Guyana.
The Centre, as well as a pilot programme, was launched under the Support for the Criminal Justice System Programme (SCJS) of the Ministry of Legal Affairs, and the ceremony took place at the Guyana Police Force Officers’ Training Centre located at Camp and Young Street.
The Support for the Criminal Justice System (SCJS) Programme is a partnership between the Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana through the Ministry of Legal Affairs and the Inter-American Development Bank.
The SCJS Programme addresses the challenge of overcrowding conditions in Prisons by focusing on two specific problems: (i) the over-reliance by the criminal justice system on custodial sentences; and (ii) the over-use of pre-trial detention.
Since its inception, the Programme has employed several measures and embarked on numerous activities, culminating in addressing the general problem of overcrowding conditions in Guyana’s penitentiary.
One such activity is to establish a Restorative Justice (RJ Centre).
Restorative justice, as described by the Canadian judicial system, is “an approach to justice that seeks to repair harm by providing an opportunity for those harmed and those who take responsibility for the harm to communicate about and address their needs in the aftermath of a crime.”
The system is founded on the belief that crime violates people’s rights and relationships and principles of respect, empathy, and inclusion. The approach also seeks to mitigate the prison population and avoid recidivism.
The feature address was delivered by the Honourable Anil Nandlall, SC, MP, Attorney General, and Minister of Legal Affairs, under whose Ministry’s stewardship the Programme is being launched.
Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Robeson Benn; Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr Vindhya V. Persaud; Director of Public Prosecutions, Mrs Shalimar Ali-Hack, SC LL.B, (Hons.), LEC; Peace and Development Specialist- Office of the United Nations Ms Janet Murdock; Director of Prisons (ag) Mr Nicklon Elliot; Deputy Commissioner’ Operations’ (ag.) Mr Ravindradat Budhram, Commander Regional Police Division 4 C Assistant Commissioner of Police Mr Khali Pareshram, Deputy Director of Prisons Mr Kevin Pilgrim, Director -Restorative Justice Centre Mr Seelall Persaud, Programme Manager- Support for the Criminal Justice System Program Ms Indira Anandjit, along with several other government officials and members of the religious community were in attendance