The Sycamore Tree Project in Action
Central to the work of Restorative Justice is the belief that every person harmed by crime or conflict should have the opportunity to try to resolve it through a restorative process.
In March 2008, Cherie Booth visited the Restorative Justice Programme, The Sycamore Tree, run by the Prison Fellowship at Feltham Young Offenders Institute.
The Sycamore Tree programme raises victim awareness among offenders and teaches the principles and application of restorative justice. Offenders on the programme explore the effects of crime on victims, on the community, and on themselves and learn to take responsibility for their personal actions. For most offenders on the programme the most powerful element is when surrogate victims talk through how crime has impacted their lives. At the end of each programme members of the community are invited to support and bear witness to the offenders' intentions to put into practice their improved attitudes and behaviour.
Cherie attended the final presentation by a group of young detainees who had been taking part in the programme, and presented them with certificates. The presentations took the form of a personal statement of self-criticism, self questioning and the individual search for a better way forward in the future. The boys stood and acknowledged publicly the impact of their crimes on the victims, their families and the wider community. Many were very moving for the audience as well as challenging for the participants.
To learn more about this progamme click here
For speeches by Cherie Blair on Restorative Justice and Penal Reform go to Speeches and Articles