4 February 1999 Edition

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Creating an accountable justice system

Youth and community activists are coming together in the form of Community Restorative Justice (CRJ) to confront the problem of anti-social behaviour.

The idea of CRJ is to reject violence as a tool for resolving disputes between individuals or families. The idea is for the people of the community to co-operate in any agreed community processes involving mediation to resolve disputes or respond to crime. If mediation fails then members of the community are to commit themselves to participate in non-violent activity agreed upon in open discussion and to be carried out against ``those who refuse to comply with their responsibilities as community members''.

The main problem facing the groups involved in CRJ is getting people who feel strongly about the problems in their area to support and become involved in this new initiative.

Pilot projects are already up and running using the Restorative Justice Mechanism in Derry, and in Belfast areas Clonard, Beechmount, New Lodge and Poleglass. Within these areas the programme is being initiated by a committee made up of representatives from residents and youth groups who are trained and recognised within their respective areas.

New groups are being set up in other areas throughout Belfast with consultation meetings already being held in the Greater Turf Lodge area. There are further meetings planned for Wednesday 10 February and Friday 12 February.

Further information can be obtained from the Turf Lodge Residents office or from Tommy Holland at the Frank Cahill Resource Centre, Tel (01232) 328928.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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