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Project Turnaround earns kudos

Aug 29, 2014

from the article by Sarah Jarvis in The Timaru Herald:

When it comes to exceptional service and notable results, Timaru's restorative justice programme is leading the way. The Ministry of Justice-funded programme, known locally as Project Turnaround, ranked No 1 out of 22 national providers in a recent survey.

....Having spent nearly four years in her role, Wood said the scale of the crimes varied.

"It could range from graffiti to manslaughter."

Offenders entered the restorative justice process after they pleaded guilty. A judge then decides if the case should be considered for restorative justice.

Wood said the number of cases referred to them varied, but "every case was different".

Having a good working relationship with other community groups and key stakeholders, including Timaru's resident judge and the police, was essential.

"The key to success is being able to make contact quickly and organise a time to meet the victim. It has usually been a long process so victims are usually raring to go and get things moving," Wood said.

Providing a flexible service to clients was crucial and that meant working long hours.

Passionate about her work, Wood said both victims and offenders were treated equally.

"Everyone involved in the process is treated the same. They are welcomed through the door the same ... and offered the same coffee," she smiled.

"It's about respecting everyone and treating them with dignity."

Read the whole article.

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