Settling disputes between offenders and victims to create lasting resolutions.

Sodexo Justice aims to help reduce reoffending by providing offenders with a safe and supportive environment that prepares them for their life beyond prison.

HMP Peterborough wanted to find an effective way of settling disputes between offenders and their victims, that would create lasting resolutions. We used our Quality of Life approach to find a solution that really made a difference to the lives of offenders and their victims.

Adopting the Restorative Approach

We advised HMP Peterborough to adopt the Restorative Approach, which creates an opportunity for the victim to meet the perpetrator in a meeting led by a trained facilitator. The victim will have the chance to ask the perpetrator questions about the offence and explain how it made them feel. This gives the perpetrator an opportunity for them to reflect on their actions and show empathy. Both parties can then agree on next steps, such as an apology from the perpetrator, or a task that gives back to the community.

This approach is an established and effective way to address conflict, which challenges offenders and supports victims in getting the answers they need to move forward.

We implemented the approach in both male and female prisons as a tool to deal with conflict across the whole site. Prison staff and residents were both trained as facilitators and, with careful planning and preparation, it brought people in conflict together within the prison.

It was used for minor disagreements through to more serious behaviour issues and was also used alongside the formal disciplinary processes.

Holding offenders accountable and giving victims answers

Using restorative meetings has meant that offenders who have caused harm have been held accountable and those harmed have been able to get the answers they need.

All new staff are now trained as facilitators and many residents volunteer for training as they can see how it makes HMP Peterborough a safer and more peaceful environment.

The approach has been so successful that the Family Matters team are now delivering Restorative Family meetings, where residents and family members can address issues and concerns and work together to find a way forward. This has helped residents plan for their release and get more from their family contacts while in the prison.

HMP Peterborough has been awarded the Restorative Service Quality Mark by the Restorative Justice Council in recognition of how the prison has applied restorative approaches across the whole prison.

February 27, 2019

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