Examination of Witnesses (Questions 100-104)|
TUESDAY 25 MARCH 2003
AINSWORTH MP AND
100. Finally, on restorative justice, do you
have any research data which shows the relative success or failure
of the pilot schemes?
(Mr Ainsworth) I am not in a position to talk to you
about research on this, I am afraid.
(Ms Casey) I do not have a statistic we can throw
at you. We will go away and let you have that if that is helpful.
What I do know from memory is that the Youth Justice Board have
been doing this and it shows if people face the people in the
community then it works, particularly for young people. They already
have something like 5,000 lay panel members, and referring people
to the Community Panel is proving successful. I cannot tell you
what the statistic is, so we will let you have that separately.
101. If it is proving successful, is there scope
for increasing restorative justice schemes?
(Mr Ainsworth) It is an area we are particularly keen
to explore. Historically we have got a pretty poor attitude in
this country towards community sentences of all kinds. The public
think that they are soft options, even when they are not. They
are effective measures of restorative justice which could build
confidence among the wider community if the sentencing is appropriate.
It can be a most effective, most appropriate function in many
circumstances. If you have messed up the area, if you have strewn
rubbish all over the place, graffiti, criminal damage and all
the rest of it, why not put right exactly what you have done and
do it in front of the community where you have done the damage?
It is a win:win, is it not? If the community can actually see
the vandal putting right the vandalism, there is a benefit on
102. Perhaps we could bring back the stocks
(Mr Ainsworth) The stocks and the pillories are not
restorative justice, are they? In what way did putting somebody
in a set of stocks put right the damage that they had done to
the community in which they were living?
103. Humiliation was what it was all about.
(Mr Ainsworth) What are we saying here? That it is
humiliating for somebody who has destroyed a part of the community
in which they live to be seen fixing what they have damaged and
destroyed. Where is the humility in that? If there is humility
in that then it is an appropriate way of humility, is it not?
If they have behaved in a shameful way, why should they not be
put in a shameful situation? If we are talking about them repairing
the damage that they have done, I see absolutely no problem with
it at all. I am fairly robust on it and am looking to develop
this policy as rapidly as we can.
104. I fully endorse all those points you make.
I was putting a provocative question to you. I have no problem
with what you have said.
(Mr Ainsworth) Maybe it was a provocative answer.
I do apologise.
Chairman: On that note, we shall conclude.
Minister, you have impressed us all with your mastery of the subject
in such a short time. Ms Casey, thank you very much indeed. The
session is closed.