On 17-18 May in Portlaoise, the Irish Prison Service hosted a training on Restorative Practice, with support from the Netherlands Helsinki (NHC) and EuroPris. As part of the EPTA II project, which is co-funded by the European Union’s Justice Programme, the EPTA network organized several cross-border trainings, where selected EPTA members hosted training in Ireland, Romania, and Croatia (will be hosted in 3-5 October) for participants from other EPTA member organizations. Click here to view the event page of the Cross-Border Training on Restorative Practice in Ireland Portlaoise, 17-18 May 2023.
Click here to view the full report from this Training.
Click here to access all the slides from the Training.
At this cross-border training in Portlaoise, the methodology for the training was that participants were guided by the lecturers and speakers through the two days with a combination of slides, exchanges, exercises and circles in order to facilitate experiential learning. Gathered in a circle, so as to reflect the method of the restorative practices (RP) and the training delivered by the Irish Prison Service College (IPSC), the participants were asked by the group leaders & speakers to open and close each session by sharing something about themselves on a given topic or by giving their level of energy from 1 to 10. In addition, the participants had the chance to visit the prison next to the training academy: the Midlands Prison. Participants appreciated this very much and lively discussions took place during these days.
Restorative practices (RP) in prison settings
RP are based on a language that helps us develop positive relationships within communities, understand each other‘s needs and perspectives, solve problems to prevent conflict from occurring and resolve conflict in a healthy way when it arises. It is different from restorative justice (RJ) but is largely based on the same principles and appears in the Council of Europe (CoE) recommendation on RJ in criminal matters.
The RP principles aim to ask all criminal justice professionals to:
• Invest time in building relationships;
• Use non-judgemental and respectful language;
• Make decisions in ways experienced as fair;
• Use dialogue to help people participate in identifying and meeting their needs;
• Repair harm and resolve conflict in a healthy way when it arises.
In practice, different formats of RP are used, for example: language, conversations, circles, meetings and conferences.