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New sentencing option considered

There are plans to introduce restorative justice as a pilot scheme in the Manx courts.

The sentencing option, already in use in the Irish Republic and the United Kingdom, involves communities having a say in how offenders are dealt with, and can result in face to face meetings between offenders and their victims.

Home Affairs Minister Adrian Earnshaw, whose department is behind the proposed pilot scheme, says restorative justice is certainly not appropriate for all offenders.

He is also aware some people might feel alternatives to custody are soft options, but says elsewhere it has proved effective in giving some satisfaction to victims, while at the same time having an impact on offenders.

Restorative justice can lead to offenders doing direct or indirect work for their victims, making a personal apology or agreeing to a face to face meeting.

It was one of the main themes debated at the Criminal Justice Conference hosted by the Isle of Man earlier this year, and the cost of such a scheme is being examined.

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