Restorative Justice Week
History of Restorative Justice Week
Originally called “Prisoner’s Sunday”, the event has its roots in prison chaplaincies. It began in England in 1975 on the third Sunday of the month of November as a day on which Christian believers would pray for and show compassion towards prisoners and their families.
In 1995, the day was extended to a week called, “Prisoner’s Week” during which several activities geared towards prisoners and their families would be undertaken. However, in 1996, with the growing interest in restorative justice, the name of the event was changed to “Restorative Justice Week” to reflect the need to also focus on victims, ex-prisoners, their respective families and the community in which they all resided.
In Canada, Restorative Justice Week became a national event by decision of the Interfaith Committee on Chaplaincy, within the Correctional Service of Canada’s Chaplaincy Division. Each year, the Interfaith Committee on Chaplaincy decides upon a theme to be observed in commemoration of International Restorative Justice Week during the third week of November.
Starting from a primarily Christian focus, Restorative Justice Week now reaches out to members of all faiths, as well as to secular audiences. The scope of the week has also broadened to encompass all who are affected by crime – victims and their families, offenders and their families, criminal justice officials and the entire community.
CURB and Restorative Justice Week
Since our formation in 2005, CURB has observed Restorative Justice Week in the month of November in much the same manner as our prison ministry and restorative justice counterparts around the world. Two of our directors were involved in the first ever observance of Restorative Justice Week in Trinidad and Tobago in 2003.
CURB appreciates that the themes selected by the Interfaith Committee on Chaplaincy within the Correctional Service of Canada are more appropriate to that nation’s history with restorative justice than to the Caribbean where restorative justice is still in its infancy.
For that reason, CURB has consistently selected themes for Restorative Justice Week each year which are relevant to the Caribbean experience.
A link to each observance of RJ Week and its respective theme is below:-
RJ Week 2012 - Helping Prisons Officers Understand Restorative Justice