WHO WE ARE
Founded in 1998, CRJI aspires to build a tolerant,
responsive, and inclusive community by providing
restorative justice services to local areas.
Community Restorative Justice Ireland (CRJI) is a network of practitioners, volunteers, advocates and community members, seeking to establish support for and access to Restorative Justice for all citizens in the island of Ireland.
CRJI was founded in 1998 in an effort to provide accessible, nonviolent methods of conflict resolution to local communities. Stemming from a series of conversations between community members and individuals within the voluntary sector (see CRJI’s foundational document The Blue Book for more information), CRJI was able to secure funding to launch four pilot locations across Belfast. Originally designed primarily as an alternative to paramilitary punishment violence, services rapidly expanded as the organisation became more established and accepted. The organisation eventually grew to six locations throughout Belfast, and launched offices in Derry and Newry/Armagh. In 2008, CRJI was accredited by the Department of Justice, making it one of two restorative justice organisations to receive this distinction. Since that time, CRJI has continued to develop its practice and standards, and is now regarded as an international beacon for restorative justice.
Services now cover a wide variety of programmes, including mediation, support and advice, housing aid, social justice initiatives, and under threat interventions, in addition to a host of other activities. CRJI regularly collaborates with statutory agencies, including the Police, the Housing Executive, Social Services, and Probation, as well as local organisations, such as women’s centres, food banks, housing associations, and youth groups.
CRJI continues to look towards the future, endeavouring to empower local communities to holistically prevent crime and restoratively address incidents of conflict, with the ultimate goal of building a more tolerant, responsive, and inclusive society.
Chief executive officer
Co-ordinator North Belfast
Garrett studied Applied Psychology in University of Ulster and was particularly interested in developmental psychology and maladaptive behaviour. A work placement delivering psychological services to children in the Training School system impressed upon him the futility of custodial sentences for young people and the limits of a strictly punitive justice system. He developed his knowledge of the various paradigms of justice through completing a Masters in Criminal Justice Management in Queens University after qualifying from his primary degree. In the course of his Masters he submitted a dissertation on the potential for Restorative Justice to develop in North Belfast in the context of the Good Friday Agreement for which he was awarded a distinction.
His psychological and criminological background has guided his professional career. He’s provided policy comment and research for a criminal justice organisation; supported people paced under paramilitary threat and been commissioned to research the ex-prisoner and Displaced community in County Louth and assess the services provided to them. He first completed CRJI training in 2000 and has advocated a restorative response to crime and offending behaviour since then. Consequently he was delighted to successfully interview for the position of North Belfast Coordinator in 2009. Since then he has worked with thousands of local people, helping them resolve disputes, engage with statutory agencies, address the ASB on their streets and supported them when they were victims of crime.”
All of our practitioners have undergone screening by Access NI to ensure the protection of children and vulnerable adults. Our practitioners are certified in restorative practices and are trained according to the highest standards. Since 2015, CRJI has partnered with Time-Out Assessment Centre to develop the skills of our staff and practitioners, delivering a qualification that is accredited by SFJ Awards and is approved by the Restorative Justice Council. Learn more about the specific qualifications on our resource page.
Michael O’Hara (Chair)