The French Institute for Restorative Justice

Summary:

 

Why create an institute for restorative justice?

 

The French Institute for Restorative Justice (Institut Français pour la Justice Restaurative, IFJR in French) was set up in 2013 in the wake of the Consensus-conference on the prevention of re-offending organized by the Minister of Justice, Christiane Taubira, in February 2013.  Restorative justice appeared then as a relevant response to the crisis that our criminal, justice system is going through and which perfectly completed the measures already in existence.

Since then, we have set our hearts on promoting an ongoing, specific debate on restorative justice.Today, research and practice have both contributed to this debate.

Our initiative is simple and essentially participatory and aims at sharing knowledge and experience.

The practice of restorative justice for over 40 years throughout the world has offered France today the opportunity to develop restorative justice programmes which perfectly meet the needs of the victims, the criminal offenders, their closest relatives as well as the community to which they belong, with due respect to the dignity and humanity of each.The scientific knowledge stemming from fundamental as well as applied research can quickly be mustered within an organization like the IFJR, leaning on the Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour (UPPA) and chaired by Professor Robert Cario who pioneered its integration in France, in collaboration with other researchers.

The IFJR also draws upon the experience of the practitioners of victim care, of mediation and of social and legal support, who have been leading initiatives in connection with restorative justice for many years.The IFJR also is closely in touch with its partners, particularly the Institut National d’Aide aux Victimes et de Médiation (INAVEM; the National Institute of Aid to Victims and Mediation).

A first session of the Inmate-Victim meetings (Rencontres Détenus-Victimes, RDV in French) was organized at the Poissy Prison in 2010 by Inavem, the Poissy Prison, the Probation and Rehabilitation Service of Yvelines, with the participation of those who were to found the IFJR three years later.Incidentally, a study day of synthesis and assessment had been held at the Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour in 2011 in the wake of the one organized by the Ecole Nationale d’Administration Pénitentiaire (ENAP – The National School of Prison Administration) which led to the publication of a book which has now become a reference.

It is now possible for the victims and perpetrators of criminal offences to have access to a measure of restorative justice in all criminal proceedings and at any stage of the proceedings (article 10-1 of the Code of Criminal proceedings).

 

What are our main initiatives?

 

The IFJR works towards the development of restorative justice in France on a daily basis, by aiding and supporting all the parties involved.                                                                                 

We contribute to keeping the public informed about restorative justice about “what it is” and “what it is not”, about its promises and the means available to fulfil them. This information is conveyed via our website,  publications as well as awareness seminars organized within the framework of our programme “Passer of restorative justice”.                                                                                                   

We contribute to the affirmation of restorative justice practices in France and throughout the world by supporting the professionalization of the contributors.  We offer training courses covering all the measures of restorative justice, in partnership with INAVEM.  We provide an overview and a follow-up of the programmes of restorative justice in France, through an observatory of the practices and a directory of the organizations and services promoting restorative justice measures. We ensure compliance with the fundamental principles of restorative justice on the basis of a Code of ethics adopted by all the organizations we support.

We contribute to the development of restorative justice programmes by assisting the organizations which require it in designing, creating and developing their projects in this domain. We help them to achieve a total integration of their programme within the criminal justice system.

Through an evaluation of these programmes we also contribute to developing the knowledge available in the field of restorative justice in France and throughout the world.

The measures provided and promoted by the IFJR are implemented according to scientifically proven protocols at the cutting edge of innovation, for the sake of the restoration of the individual as well as social stability.

I.F.J.R, BP 70131, 64001 PAU CEDEX 01