As part of their commitment to reduce violence, help heal communities and provide services that stop people from committing further offences, the Greater Manchester Probation Trust (GMPT) wants to develop a strategy for the use of restorative justice with serious youth violence, street group violence (e.g. riots) and gang related crime.
IARS has been asked to support this initiative by providing independent and evidence-based advice that will allow GMPT to develop a solid framework for their future policy and practice in this area.
The IARS project is led by Prof. Theo Gavrielides and is founded upon evidence from probation staff as well as "live case studies" that are analysed, evaluated and used for a regional restorative justice strategy.
Following the 2011 riots, GMPT introduced a new Community Order (I-CRC) which includes a restorative meeting and is offered as an intensive alternative to custody for offenders who would normally receive a prison sentence of less than 12 months. I-CRC appeared as a study in IARS' latest book Waves of Healing. It also serves as an example of the Trust's progressive and innovative approach to dealing with new forms of violence.
IARS has been a pioneer in the area of restorative justice and street group violence. In 2011 and in partnership with the Centre for Restorative Justice at Simon Fraser University (Canada), IARS initiated an international research project that explores the potential and pitfalls when using restorative justice with riots and other street group violence phenomena. The project can be accessed via here
As the phenomena of street group violence and gang crime are taking new shapes and forms, the role of the community and of non punitive responses is examined.
There are probably more definitions on restorative justice than any other criminal justice notion. There is concensus that these definitions are classified into two groups; those that focus on the outcomes of restorative justice, and those that highlight its processes.
IARS adopts a broad definition as developed by Gavrielides (2007).
"Restorative Justice is an ethos with practical goals, among which is to restore harm by including affected parties in a (direct or indirect) encounter and a process of understanding through voluntary and honest dialogue.
Restorative justice adopts a fresh approach to conflicts and their control, retaining at the same time certain rehabilitative goals" (Gavrielides 2007: 139)
IARS' strapline is 'community-led solutions for a better society'. Therefore, the promises of restorative justice as a community-born and community-led practice interest us. We investigate these promises through our independent, evidence-based approaches that are scrutinised by our Academic Board . Our findings and research also tend to appear in peer review publications. It is for this reason that IARS Publications was also set up as a small independent publisher.
By working with GMPT, we hope to support the development of a coherent and successful strategy that will enable this regional agency to reduce violence and help victims and families get what they need from the criminal justice system. The fact that this project has a particular focus on youth and how young people can be supported so that better outcomes are achieved for everyone, make IARS' involvement even more worthwhile. Our policy and strategy work on youth policy, serious crime and restorative justice has been used by many national and international bodies, and we are known for the expertise and original data that we have accumulated in this field.
We will link this work with the restorative justice strategy that we are developing for Europe through the 3ERJ Project, as well as our membership on the Ministry of Justice national RJ Strategy Group. We will also use the findings and lessons from our work with the London Serious Youth Violence Board as well as the research that we did with our Youth Advisory Boards.
For further information please contact Prof. Theo Gavrielides