The Institute for Restorative Justice was established in the spring of 2019 as one part of activities of the national group of the European project named Restorative Justice: Strategies for Change.
The principle of restorative justice states that through a crime, someone suffers harm and human relationships are damaged. It should be the prominent interest when seeking for justice to fulfil the needs of the victim and the perpetrator to assume the responsibility for caused harm. Even in the 21st century, the Czech criminal justice states that the main purpose of criminal proceedings is to find and punish the perpetrator. Let’s change this!
The process of finding justice should contribute to the interests of the victims to be put in the forefront of interest, to motivating the perpetrators to an active attitude when assuming responsibility for the harm caused, to engaging the social environment and affected communities in solving the consequences of a crime, thus contributing to this process and leading all persons affected towards a healthy vision of their future and to healing the wounds caused by the crime. The restorative justice represents a set of principles, values and means to achieving such vision. The Institute for Restorative Justice was established in order to promote the restorative approaches in the Czech penal politics and practice.
The purpose of the Institute for Restorative Justice is to – trough the support of systemic changes and through communicating with both the general and the professional public – promote the ideas and principles of restorative justice both in criminal proceedings and in broader civil society, to develop and operate restorative schemes pursuant to Section § 39 par. 1 b) of the Act Nr. 45/2013 Coll., Act on Victims of Crime, to develop and organize other schemes to resolve conflicts between individuals and groups of people, to provide services, aid and advisory to crime victims and perpetrators, and to the organizations and institutions helping the victims, perpetrators and their families.
The European project Restorative Justice: Strategies for Change emerged in 2019 as a joint platform of the European Forum for Restorative Justice and nine European countries, including the Czech Republic. One of the main impulses for the project was the passing of a new recommendation of the European Council about restorative justice in criminal affairs. The aim of the project is to support in the four years to come the development of restorative justice on the level of individual states and to mutually share experiences at meetings. The national groups are active on the level of every member country; their goal is to activate the individual players in the field of criminal justice and to create the national strategy for the broad application of restorative justice in given field. The members of the Czech national group are: Andrea Matoušková (Probation and Mediation Service), Petra Masopust Šachová (Faculty of Law, Palacký University Olomouc), Jan Tomášek (Institute for Criminology and Social Prevention), Lukáš Dirga (Ministry of Justice).