On Monday 24th July 2023, an introductory session on restorative justice took place at the Anse Royale campus, organized collaboratively by the University of Seychelles and the Seychelles Prison Service. The session brought together various stakeholders, including staff from UniSey, the prison service, police and members of the business community.
Facilitating the half-day session was Lisa Marqua-Harries, a consultant from RESTORE, a renowned NGO based in Cape Town, South Africa. RESTORE is dedicated to providing restorative justice opportunities to inmates at Pollsmoor Prison. Lisa Harries has an extensive background, having worked with young offenders for over 18 years within Pollsmoor prison. Her expertise is further supported by her MA in Restorative Justice, acquired from the University of Hull, and her co-founding of the charity organization, RESTORE.
Currently, through RESTORE, Lisa and her team actively engage in weekly victim awareness programs, conduct circle workshops in high-violence communities and are piloting a participatory action research project empowering ex-offenders, who were once part of her classes, to become researchers in their own communities.
The restorative justice session proved to be an enlightening and interactive experience. It revolved around three fundamental elements:
2) Repair, and
Attendees were presented with numerous testimonials and real-life experiences showcasing how the restorative justice approach has been successfully implemented in South Africa.
Following the session, ongoing discussions are underway between UniSey, Seychelles Prison Service and RESTORE, with the goal of introducing this transformative approach into the Seychelles prison system. The aim is to address the root causes of crimes and reduce recidivism, fostering a more cohesive and rehabilitative society.