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The early legal systems consisting of informal legal codes viewed crime as an opportunity for settlement between the offenders and their family and the victim and their family. Although the community, and by extension the state had a responsibility to address the wrong done, the offense was not mainly regarded as a crime against the state. These early systems had firmly entrenched ideals of restitution for crimes ranging from minor, such as property offenses and theft, to major, such as violent offenses. Many pre-colonial African societies aimed less at punishing criminal offenders than as resolving the consequences to their victims  . The emphasis was not solely on punishing the offender, but in ensuring that relationships between offender and victim were maintained in spite of the violation. These legal systems gradually were gradually replaced, paving the way for the model of crime as we know it today, where the state became the focus of attention as far as wrong doing was concerned.
Crime trends and criminal justice challenges facing T&T today
Homicides, domestic violence, gangs, drug trade
- The Trinidad Express reported that there were a total of 545 homicides in 2008 and 506 in 2009. With an ever increasing murder rate, larceny and house breaking, domestic violence and other offenses. Judges and Magistrates are bombarded with unreasonably large case loads, millions of dollars have been spent by the Ministry of National Security to hire and train more police officers, to purchase high-tech equipment and secure the services of foreign experts in an attempt to gain a strong hold on the crime situation. The Nations prisons are severely overcrowded and the recidivism rate is still at an all time high of approximately 65%, according to ... Given the previous scenario, citizens are still plagued by crime and the fear of crime.
Some of the opportunities that change brings
It is quite evident that amidst the attempts at intervention, the crime situation and resultant statistics are still existent in endemic proportions. Victims are still dissatisfied about the treatment meted out to them from the Criminal Justice System. In that, even when perpetrators are incarcerated, victims often do not feel satisfied. The high rate of recidivism. The retributive response to crime and criminality needs to be replaced with one that is more prone to addressing the needs of both victim and offender, while simultaneously including the community in reparative efforts. In light of these examples, a different way of thinking and measuring is required that looks at issues such as - How can we heal those that have been injured? How can we get individual to give back to community, society?
Propose RJ reforms to help alleviate the problem of crime.
The ultimate Restorative Justice goal is to keep people out of prison by dealing with them in the community without compromising public safety. All Restorative Justice measures heal torn relationships to restore justice. This means promoting responsibility, safety and peace, so that offenders become stakeholders in society.
The crime control model vs humanistic techniques to reintegrate ppl in society, respond to the needs of victims, offenders, relatives, neighbours, religious & community - rather than traditional CJ methods - courts or prisons.
Crime control model refers to a theory of criminal justice which places emphasis on reducing the crime in society through increased police and prosecutorial powers  . The
crime control is by nature punitive, this model is primarily concerned with restraint, incapacitation, longer sentences. Restorative Justice is based on reintegration.
Questions C.J asks - Who did it? What laws were broken? How will we punish the offender? Questions R.J. asks - Who has been hurt? What are their needs? Whose obligations are these? 
Response to call for tougher sentences & more prisons to lower crime rate
Does R.J. adequately address causation & prevention issues in specific cases?
definitely looks at nature of crime, who has been injured, educational prevention aspect - family, community.
Attitudes, employment history R.J. - character first ppl commit crime because lack of character, because they want to - economic, lack of education (symptoms) of a deeper root cause. There is a profit attached. R.J. addresses all of these things and gives the offender an opportunity to address all of these things, in order to make amends.
Should R.J. speak to the larger issues of social justice? What does it have to say theoretically & practically to social structural conditions that create harm? - Classism, Racism, Educational systems
speaks about social justice - relationships, harm, social justice, equity, the common good. Look at victim, community and perpetrators. Peace, build capacity with NGO's. It Addresses social issues. Moral issues - responsibility, morality, education, social life skills, family reconcillation, re-union. Supporting inmates, jobs. Working with Ministry of Sport, Health. Building capacity, community justice. How do we treat inmates, provide for them. Giving the inmate the capacity to change and providing him with the means so that he can change. Developing a sense of social justice.
What kind of support systems are there?
Does the offender continue to be victimized when he leaves prison?
Proper training, assessment - different approach, providing opportunities, embarked on the Shared Responsibility Model.
What about opportunities - strategies Correctional education - life skills, culture, not just about education.
Policies, areas specific to T&T (Overall)
The Cabinet Appointed Task Force on Prison reform and transformation (2002) was a Committee formed to review the entire penal system and make recommendations. This committee embraced the Restorative Justice Philosophy as fundamental to penal reform in Trinidad and Tobago. This model hinges upon the principle that the society as well as the offender is in some way responsible for offending behaviours, however, the offender is held accountable for his or her actions. This approach is considered ideal as it actively incorporates and integrates all stakeholders including the community, victims of crime, corporate society and penal agencies in the fight against crime and in the various strategies and initiatives implemented for the effective management of the offender within and without the prison population. It cannot be over-emphasised that the Philosophy is a highly integrated, proactive, participative and flexible approach to crime management. Recommendations:
Total reform and transformation of the Prison Service
Penal reform and transformation unit
Implementation of a Parole System
The Reintegrative Penal Policy
The Shared Responsibility Model of Rehabilitation
The Introduction of Parole
The successful implementation and reform no one entity of the CJS can operate in isolation. System cannot be disjointed and disconnected. The entire system has to be a part. Judiciary - Judicial Education Institute, series of lectures. Sentencing policies and alternatives to incarceration. Police - Probation - providing the court with timely reports and on accused
Evidence of this can be found in the literature describing...
What kind of Prison Induction Programme is there? How do we assess?
What kind of what works, correctional constructive regime. What is the intervention programme?
How do we reintegrate? Resettlement, reintegration penal policy required to drive.
Also requires Community Correction Approach - parole board, probation.
Teach individuals how to live right, heal themselves.
The satisfaction of the public. R.J. also focuses on the needs of the community.
Victim-offender sensitization has to be done before VOM can take place.
An ingenious way to get inmates to buy into the whole concept of R.J. and encouraging them to write poems about the way in which the crime they committed has affected them, what they think of the victim, etc.