Cabinet to discuss proposals for ‘restorative justice’

Plans would give victims of crime right to accept reparation payments from offenders

Tthe package of justice initiatives also includes an overhaul of the probation service

Tthe package of justice initiatives also includes an overhaul of the probation service

 


The Government will discuss plans today to give victims of crime the right to accept reparation payments from the offender in question.

The objective is to provide for “restorative justice” within the framework of Irish criminal law.

Further justice initiatives for examination today by Ministers include new oversight procedures for the Garda Inspectorate and the Inspector of Prisons.

Also in the package is an overhaul of the probation service, which supervises offenders on the direction of the courts. The aim is to modernise the relevant law, and provide for a new inspector of the probation service.

The reparations proposal from Minister for Justice Alan Shatter would be restricted to the minor offences which are reserved for the District Court. The basic aim, however, is to reduce the overall number of custodial sentences for crimes at the lower level of the scale.

For example, the Minister’s proposal would apply only to cases of minor assault and minor criminal damage where the perpetrator accepts responsibililty for committing the offences in question.

The payment of reparations would be overseen by the court, meaning the value would have to be acceptable to the judge. In doing so, the judge would be obliged to take into account the interest of the victim.

A further range of measures would modernise the execution of community sanctions by offenders.

These measures, set out in a Cabinet memorandum circulated by Mr Shatter, are included in a broader suite of legal change to be examined today by the Coalition.

They also include the replacement of the court poor box with a transparent reparations fund.