Chief Joseph O’Connor
219 Walden Street
P.O. Box 519
Concord, MA 01742
For Immediate Release
Friday, Aug. 5, 2016
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Concord Police and C4RJ Meet with Nigerian Judges to Speak about Restorative Justice
CONCORD — Chief Joseph O’Connor is pleased to announce that the Concord Police Department joined Communities for Restorative Justice (C4RJ) to speak to a group of visiting Nigerian judges on alternative means of addressing crime.
The Nigerian delegation was in the U.S. to attend a workshop on alternative dispute resolution, sponsored by the Center for Peace, Democracy, and Development (CPDD) at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Officials from UMass Boston reached out to C4RJ to speak to the Nigerian judges about restorative justice. C4RJ then contacted Chief O’Connor to be a part of the discussion. The group met on Aug. 3.
“It is nice to have an opportunity to learn from each other and talk about the ways that we can make our systems better,” said C4RJ Executive Director Erin Freeborn. “This is a yearly reminder that we’re not doing this work alone. It is a global effort.”
During the meeting, which was held at the Concord Police Department, Chief O’Connor gave the judges a law enforcement perspective on restorative justice and spoke about community policing.
“It was a pleasure to host the judges and share information,” Chief O’Connor said. “Restorative justice is an important part of Concord and I hope the Nigerian judges will use it in their communities.”
CPDD promotes conflict resolution, democracy, economic development, education building, media development, and legal and judicial reform through partnerships and training programs across the globe. For a number of years the CPDD has partnered with C4RJ as a way to highlight a community resource for responding to crime.
Concord is one of 17 partner police departments that recommend cases to C4RJ. If the victim and the offender agree to the process, the matter is given to C4RJ, which facilitates a meeting between both parties, putting the decision making into the hands of those directly affected.
Together, under the guidance of the board and a law enforcement officials, the victim, the offender and their loved ones and supporters, along with community members, discuss the crime and find a solution to move forward. The process is as follows:
- Victims of crime address the person or people who have harmed them, to ask questions in a safe environment, and to share ideas on ways what they’ve done can be repaired.
- Offenders better understand the impact of their actions, are held accountable, and encouraged to make amends to those they have harmed.
- The community offers support for the process, strengthening connections, and engaging in matters of concern to its members.
At the end of the meeting, the offender pledges to change his or her actions, which are often accompanied by completing a number of service hours for an appropriate organization. In 60 to 90 days, all parties meet again to check in and reassess the situation.
To learn more about C4RJ, watch their video on the restorative process here.