The Lagos State Ministry of Justice has urged magistrates in the state to embrace restorative justice as one of the measures to decongest prisons.
The ministry made the call during a training session for magistrates to promote restorative justice in the judiciary.
The training, which was recently carried out through the Restorative Justice Centre, was aimed at decongesting correctional facilities across the state while ensuring quick dispensation of justice.
Speaking at the training session held at the Ministry of Justice, Alausa, the Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs Titilayo Shitta-bey-Jeje, who was represented by Mrs Olubunmi Olugasa, noted that “restorative justice 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 and address their needs in the aftermath of a crime.”
She explained that restorative justice is built around the understanding that crime is a violation of people and relationships while encouraging meaningful engagement and accountability that provides an opportunity for healing, reparation and reintegration into society.
“The goals of the Lagos State Restorative Justice Programme include reduction of recidivism, increasing victim satisfaction, strengthening communities, reducing incarceration and increasing public confidence in the justice system,” she said.
Acting Director of the Lagos State Multi-Door Courthouse, Mrs Achere Cole, who delivered a paper titled, ‘Introduction to Restorative Justice (identifying cases fit for RJ and dealing with the outcome in court)’, explained restorative justice as a process involving those who have a stake in a specific offence to collectively identify and address harms, in order to heal and put things as right as possible.
Cole said: “The corner posts of restorative justice comprise the inclusion of all parties, encountering the other party, reparation, reintegration of parties into their community and active accountability.”