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The Police and Crime Commissioner is calling on the government to urgently fund more initiatives in the West Midlands that reduce reoffending.

Simon Foster already commissions a multi-million-pound restorative justice programme and so appreciates the importance of tackling the causes of crime.

Restorative Justice sees victims of crime and their offenders agree to meet, so the victim can gain closure and the offender understands the harm they’ve caused. 98% of offenders said it had increased their motivation not to reoffend.

Lisa, from the Black Country, was robbed after being hit over the head by a glass bottle as she withdrew cash from a hole-in-the-wall in Darlaston. Despite attempting to fight off her attacker, the incident left her scared and frightened.

That was until Lisa was offered the chance to go into a local prison and confront the man who assaulted and robbed her. The meeting was paid for by the PCC and arranged by Remedi, one of the organisations who provide the Restorative Justice service in our region. They brought the pair together in an attempt to help the victim move on with her life and to ensure the offender changed his ways.

Now the PCC says the government urgently needs to provide more money so similar schemes, that get tough on criminals and change their behaviour, can be rolled out.  

“I’m calling on the government to urgently fund tough initiatives that have the power to stop criminals offending.

“We must bring offenders to justice for their crimes, but simply locking them up doesn’t work enough of the time.

“We also need to tackle their underlying behaviour and to do that the government is going to need to produce adequate funding.”

Lisa said: “I think I got a lot more from this than I would have done from being in court. It helped me understand why it happened and the circumstances around the person who did it.

“It’s so easy to make the offender the villain. It’s nice to go in there and understand they aren’t evil. I came out of there, and I just felt SO GOOD.

“When it happened, I cannot fault the police, but the fact that you’ve got this service that supports victims in making something good come from a bad situation is just fantastic and it’s good knowing we aren’t just locking people up and punishing them, but are helping to change their ways too.”

The Assistant Director at Remedi, Chris Hickin, said: “Restorative justice works because it holds offenders to account for the damage their actions have caused.

“It can be common for offenders to justify their crimes with excuses, that becomes harder to do when the actual victim is sat across a table from them. 

“Restorative justice at its core is a simple process. The victim meets the offender to discuss the impact of the offence. But in order to do it well, we have to prepare both sides fully in advance of any meeting so that we can ensure the safety of all participants and to maximise the potential of the meeting, helping the victim cope and recover and for the offender to fully understand the impact of their actions. 

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