The Lagos State Government through the Ministry of Justice celebrates this year’s restorative justice week, a week set aside in the third week of November to create awareness about the role and importance of restorative justice practices as it relates to the promulgation of the ethos of justice based on putting victims first as well as giving them a voice.
According to a release signed by the Lagos State Restorative Justice Steering Committee, this year’s event with the theme ” Protect and Empower the Person Harmed” is to create awareness about restorative justice for victims, the benefits it can create for society as well as addressing injustices and harm in a humane way.
This year’s theme is also apt given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on victims of crimes and the justice system according to the statement. Other activities earmark for this year includes sensitisation programmes, community outreach and a webinar for stakeholders which is scheduled for Tuesday, 30th November.
The State is also set to launch the Restorative Justice Centre which will serve as the coordinating hub for RJ referrals.
The week is is observed by diverse groups involved in restorative justice including Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs), government departments, academic and other stakeholders in the justice system.
Restorative Justice is a method used for dealing with a crime that puts the needs of victims first while the offender takes responsibility for their actions. This practice focuses on addressing conflict through participation and reconciliation.
The Lagos State Restorative Justice Steering Committee was established by the State Criminal Justice Reform Committee to create awareness and develop policies as well as an operational framework for implementing Restorative Justice.
In addition to deploying restorative justice as a tool for decongesting correctional facilities across the State, it will also promote peaceful communities, transforms criminal justice system, heals wounds of crime as well as reintegration of offenders.
Members of the Committee includes representatives from the Ministry of Justice; Judiciary, Correctional Service, Police, Prison Fellowship Nig., Multi-door CourtHouse, Citizens Mediation Center(CMC) as well as the academia.