Report of Our Meeting on Community Justice and Transforming Conflict
The debate was chaired by Francis Sealey with the panel of speakers consisting of Yasmin Qureshi (MP for Bolton South East and member of the Justice Committee), Neena Samota (Nacro) and Theo Gavrielides (IARS**).
All members were respected figures within the field of Restorative Justice, an approach to justice which encourages the perpetrator to admit to their crimes and repair the damage done i.e. return stolen money, or community service.
They each gave a speech on their respective positions with their field, a statistic laden argument in the promotion of Restorative Justice and the steps that were being taken into implementing it into the wider, global society.
The input from the panel was digested by the densely seated floor and sporadically, the opportunity arose for questions to be fired back to the panel.
This prompted questions which ranged from issues the disproportionate stop and search data, practitioners of RJ inquiring how they can consolidate RJ’s position given the matrix of organisations that are involved in the judicial system as well as the lack of z between them all and lastly fervent calls by a protester to enact restorative justice upon Tony Blair (which drew hearty “hear, hears!) for war crimes enacted upon the people of Iraq and Afghanistan.
It was an interesting, thought-provoking and at times, highly emotive debate that drew questions, answers, stories and statistics from people that not only researched the topic, but those who had to live through the effects of these discussions (albeit on a higher level usually).
The array of expertise, the impassioned accounts and general air of amiability by those present made the talk a very informative and satisfying evening which opened up my prespectives on alternatives to a British Judicial Systems whose flaws are becoming increasingly unjustifiable.
I would like to extend my gratitude to Francis Sealey, GlobalNet 21 and all those that took part and had a hand in organising an enjoyable evening.