Page last updated at 10:56 GMT, Monday, 21 April 2008 11:56 UK

Scheme calls offenders to account

A scheme which will see offenders coming face-to-face with their victims and the local community has been expanded in part of Somerset.

Restorative Justice, piloted in the county in the Chard and Ilminster area, is now being rolled-out to include Wellington, Wiveliscombe and Milverton.

Volunteers are being trained before the panels which hear cases go live and more are expected to follow.

The panels will hear cases of "low level" crime including criminal damage.

'Not soft option'

Project co-ordinator Rowena Stratford who co-ordinates the Chard and Ilminster scheme, will be working closely with the volunteers.

She said the scheme was not a soft option.

"It makes offenders face-up to their actions and the impact that their actions have on the lives of others," she added.

Under Restorative Justice, offenders may have to make reparation either through monetary compensation or by physical work such as removing graffiti.

In the past three years in the south Somerset pilot the panel has dealt with more than 140 cases.

The first cases are expected to be heard in June.


SEE ALSO
Princess joins crime conference
17 Sep 07 |  Bristol/Somerset
Restorative justice gets go ahead
03 May 07 |  Northern Ireland

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