At HMYOI Huntercombe (a juvenile establishment), restorative conferencing is being used on a one-to-one basis for resolving conflict amongst the young prisoners. Twelve staff were trained in restorative conferencing to do this work.
Two young men were on adjudications for fighting each other. The adjudicating governor established first that this might be a suitable case for the use of restorative justice and agreed to adjudicate the two cases in the room at the same time. The two prisoners knew one another ‘on the out’ and a third party had apparently told one of them that the other had been ‘bad-mouthing’ him and his relatives. This had resulted in a fight between the two boys on report. The process enabled both parties to realise that the fight had been about comments reported by a third party that were in all probability untrue, and most likely a ‘set-up’ for the express purpose of provoking bad feeling between them.
Having both parties to the fight in the adjudication room at the same time helped each prisoner to realise the perception of the other at the time of the fight. It also prevented misunderstandings of what each party had said to any other parties involved, thus preventing further escalation of ill feeling.
Source: Marian Liebmann’s book, ‘Restorative Justice: How it works’ (2007, Jessica Kingsley Publishers)