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RESTORATIVE JUSTICE CAN MAKE REAL DIFFERENCE MAKE REAL; Ex-prison officer supports making low level offenders face up to victims.

Byline: STEVE BAGNALL

AN ex-prison officer who trained people on restorative justice courses has welcomed the government's moves to deal with crime.

North Wales is one of 15 areas across England and Wales, where a pilot designed to tackle anti-social behaviour and low level crime is being trialled.

Restorative justice involves victims of crime meeting the perpetrators who get a chance to apologise and possibly carry out recompense work for them.

Other Government proposals would allow criminals to be dealt with in days or even hours for "swift and sure justice".

Court hours will be more flexible, technology will enable police officers to give evidence remotely and video links for defendants and witnesses will become routine, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said.

Neighbourhood justice panels will also be brought in to deal with anti-social behaviour and low-level crime, with offenders making amends to victims and repairing damage.

Ray Hill, who now works as a concierge for Wrexham Glyndwer University's library and student services, said: "I welcome the move.

"I have 18 years working in the prison service and was running training course on restorative justice and it does work. I had lads who never re-offended again.

"But the police need to use people in civilian dress rather than in uniform."

Launching the White Paper yesterday, Criminal Justice Minister Nick Herbert said: "As well as dealing with defendants swiftly, we need to get a proper grip on them, taking the right action to prevent them sliding into ever more serious crimes."

He added: "Justice must be swift, sure and seen to be done, or it's not done at all."

welshnews@dailypost.co.uk We wouldn't want cr im s on grounds Scrapyard owner Cari Hayward who was repeatedly targeted by burglars had mixed feelings. She said: "It would depend on the circumstances and who the person was. It wouldn't bother me, but for some people, they may be nervous about coming face to face with offenders. "And from our point of view, we wouldn't want the criminals coming into our business and getting a better idea about how we operate our security." The scheme is part of a raft of changes the Government is proposing to speed the justice system up, including neighbourhood justice panels to deal with low-level crime.

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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 14, 2012
Words:383
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