My priorities as a restorative practitioner in relation to: victim comfort, a burglar's life and/or the safety of the public?

At HMP Bristol I was RJ Coordinator. I write this blog entry due to all the new coalition governments interest in restorative justice as a penal reform measure:
My concern is that restorative justice develops in a way that doesn't just serve one interest group at the expense of the lives of others.
Whilst I paid much attention to 'victim satisfaction',  I was unwilling to prioritise a victim's  comfort above the risk of an offender taking a lethal overdose of drugs if he didn't come out of  the restorative meeting with a believable plan for change.
Beyond the life of that offender, what was at stake was the safety of the public at large; the 'recidivist burglar' has much to teach us if we want to break the cycle of crime.
This was my position at HMP Bristol and in 2008 it became a resigning issue.
The conflict underlying my resignation is very alive for me; all the more pertinent as the Criminal Justice System considers ways to cut costs and deliver better results.
I suggest that we start by treating prisons not as 'Toxic Waste Centres' but as 'valuable recycling centres for safer society'.
I look for others interested in sharing their work on
generating restorative prisons.

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