You need to take responsibility for their offending

Before the restorative justice process can begin, you need to plead or be found guilty. If you want to do restorative justice, your lawyer can ask the judge to consider it. If the judge decides that restorative justice should be explored, a trained facilitator will contact you to discuss restorative justice and may have a preĀ­conference meeting with you. They’ll talk with you to see if you’re ready, willing and suited to restorative justice.

At the pre-conference meeting, the facilitator will:

  • explain the restorative justice process
  • tell you the sort of things that might be talked about at a conference
  • describe the sort of agreements that can be made
  • explain how everyone will be kept safe and be supported
  • encourage you to involve support people (such as your family or friends) ā€¢
  • encourage you to ask questions.

The facilitator will ask if you want to take part. They’ll also contact the victim to see if they want to do it too. The facilitator can decide not to go ahead with a conference if they think safety is a concern or they think restorative justice won’t help. The facilitator will tell the court and those involved if a restorative justice conference isn’t going to take place. If this happens, you will then be sentenced as soon as possible.

You’ll be asked to include family/whanau or friends to support you at the conference. Support people get a chance to speak at the conference. The facilitator may ask if you agree to other people attending the conference, such as a police or probation officer, your lawyer, or community representatives. The facilitator will ask if you need an interpreter or any other specialist support person to come to the conference.

Your cultural needs, and those of the victim, are an important part of restorative justice. The facilitator will ask if you would like a mihi, prayer or other rituals, a particular location for the conference, or a cultural support person to attend.

Everyone at the conference has agreed to participate and to talk openly and honestly about what happened and what harm was caused. You and the victim may agree a plan of action for you to complete to help put things right.

Restorative Justice only goes ahead if you and the victim want it to.

The restorative justice conference takes place before you are sentenced.

A restorative justice conference is an informal, facilitated meeting between you and the victim (or their representative), support people and any others (you have agreed to).

Everyone is at the conference to talk openly and honestly about what happened and what harm was caused. You and the victim may agree a plan of action for you to complete to help put things right.

After the conference

The facilitator writes a report describing what happened at the conference and any agreements made, including timeframes.

The facilitator makes sure the judge gets the report before you are sentenced. You and/or your lawyer also get a copy of the report, along with the victim and anyone else involved in the case, such as the police or probation officer and court victim advisor.The judge decides whether to include any agreements made at the restorative justice conference as part of your sentence.

Process Chart

1. The offender pleads guilty. The judge* decides if the case should be considered for RJ.

2. Pre-conference assesment

Facilitator meets separately with the victim & offender to work out:

  • if both victim & offender are willing
  • that everyone will be and feel safe
  • if there is likely to be a positive outcome.

3. Facilitator’s assesment

Facilitator decides if an RJ conference should go ahead.

4. RJ Conference

Meeting with facilitator, victim & offender, plus any other approved people, such as interpreters or support people.

5. Conference Report

The facilitator reports back to the judge on agreements made at the conference. The judge sentences the offender.

*The offender’s lawyer can ask the judge to consider RJ
or the victim can ask for RJ through the court victim advisor or the police officer managing the case.