Archbishop Speaks About The Importance of Restorative Justice
Friday 2nd November 2012The Archbishop of York recently spoke at an event organised by Reflex (a charity working with young offenders) about the importance of restorative justice. Information about the event follows...
In his recent Crime and Justice speech, Prime Minister David Cameron restated his belief in punishing offenders for their crimes, but also spelt out the pressing need for rehabilitation and education to stem the tide of reoffending...
“Come with me to any prison in this country… you’ll meet young people who can’t read, teenagers addicted to drugs, people who’ve never worked a day in their whole lives.... Half the prison population sa y they have no qualifications … We’re saying to charities and voluntary organisations – come and help us rehabilitate our prisoners. Give offenders new skills. Educate them”
Just a few weeks before, on October 2nd at Westminster Central Hall, The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu spoke at an evening reception organised by Reflex, a charitable organisation that seeks to empower young offenders to break cyclical reoffending. He reiterated the difference that a charity can make in bringing about lasting change in the lives of offenders..
“I have long argued that justice should be restorative rather than punitive. We cannot simply blame society for the rising numbers we see going to prison each year. The purpose of punishment, surely, is penitence – penitence leading to transformation.
We need to recognise the personal cost of crime. We need to recognise the damage, hurt and pain crime causes to victims and their families. And we need to recognise the cost to the wider society. But the harsh reality is that 75% of young offenders re-offend within 12 months - 3 out of 4 - this has to stop!”
The Archbishop went on to voice his support for Reflex’ charitable work with young offenders, offering the kind of education and rehabilitation that David Cameron called for...
“Reflex prison Outreach workers and volunteer mentors provide positive role models and ‘father figures’. Their accredited education programmes provide creative opportunities for reflection and achievement, and their life skills help build ‘character’, encouraging young people to take responsibility for their actions as part of the community. With God's help, Reflex can place a worker in every Young Offenders Institution in the nation. We can turn the tide.”
Notes to editors:
Reflex believes it is unacceptable that, in this day and age, over 10,000 vulnerable young people from deprived backgrounds are trapped in a cycle of offending, due to a lack of hope, role-models and opportunities. Reflex exist to empower children, young people and young adults to break the cycle of offending and reoffending. In 11 prisons, across 5 regions, we equip young people with the skills, confidence and opportunities to realise their full potential.
Reflex is managed and propagated by Youth for Christ: a Registered Charity, no. 263446, SC039297.