Criminals in North Otago appear to be seeing the error of
their ways, judging from the success of the restorative
justice process in the district.
Speaking to the Waitaki District Council this week, the
Waitaki Safer Community Trust's restorative justice
co-ordinator and Waitaki turnaround facilitator, Derek
Beveridge, said the restorative justice programme in North
Otago had dealt with 129 matters covering ''the whole
spectrum'' of crimes over the past year.
''Everything from minor theft to serious assault,'' he said.
Mr Beveridge said that nationally, offenders who had engaged
in restorative action were 20% less likely to reoffend, but
he was ''confident'' that in North Otago, offenders were even
less likely to reoffend.
He said the restorative justice process, which occurred after
an offender had pleaded guilty and a sentencing judge had
decided it was an appropriate course of action, brought
together offender and victim in a formal setting ''to set
''The processes we can put in place seem to have a long-term
''It is also a good opportunity for a victim to have a say in
what should or should not happen to an offender.''
Waitaki Safer Community Trust chairwoman Elizabeth McCone
said that judging by a Ministry of Justice survey carried out
last year and the trust's own follow-up inquiries with
offenders, she estimated that at least 80% of people who had
gone through the process in Waitaki had not reoffended.
Mrs McCone said the success rate was well above the national
''Our emphasis is on the victim, and turning the criminals
Waitaki Mayor Alex Familton said the 30 volunteers who worked
on the scheme in North Otago should be applauded.
''We count this as one of the most important groups of
volunteers in our community.''