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Cumbria prison governor's bid to cut the rate of reoffending

Sep 06, 2013

from the article on in-Cumbria:

Restorative justice is being rolled out at Cumbria’s only prison in a bid to cut reoffending rates.

The system, which sees criminals facing up to the consequences of their crimes, is the pet project of prison governor Tony Corcoran – who joined HMP Haverigg in January and is an expert in the field.

Mr Corcoran, a former governor at HMP Dorchester, HMP Dartmoor and HMP Channings Wood, said the scheme – still in its infancy – has had two successful cases at the jail but the programme is not for everyone.

Reoffending by former prisoners cost between £9.5bn and £13bn in 2007 to 2008 and research from the Prison Reform Trust has shown 27 per cent fewer crimes are committed by offenders who have gone through the restorative justice programme.

He said: “It’s not a panacea, it’s not a silver bullet but we have had a very successful trial.

“The perpetrator has to agree to it, the victim has to agree to it, you shouldn’t underestimate the amount of work it takes for each conference.”

Mr Corcoran, who has an MA in restorative justice, has led the charge for the prison to offer the scheme which has also been pushed by prison chaplain, the Reverend Glynn Jones.

Under the programme criminals meet with their victims and attempt to right the wrongs of their actions – victims can explain the consequences which then forces the offender to see the human effects of their crimes.

Mr Jones added: “What restorative justice asks is who is hurt, can that be healed in any way and who is involved in that healing.

“We talk about communities and families and this is alien to a lot of people we have worked with over the years.

“Being part of something and contributing to something as a community or family can be quite alien.”

Read the original article.

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