Some good news from The Netherlands, where last year the EFRJ held its 9th international conference (Leiden, 22-24 June 2016). As usual in these events, our RJ community makes alliances for further cooperation, in this case for successfully lobby for legislation and structural funding for RJ in The Netherlands.
Annemieke Wolthuis, vice-chair of the EFRJ Board, just shared some good news for our Dutch RJ community. Yesterday 21 February in The Hague, a group of professionals interested in RJ presented a new draft law on RJ to the members of the justice department in the Dutch Parliament. The chair of Restorative Justice Nederland, professor Theo de Roos, gave the text in a published booklet, which consists of detailed articles arranging a restorative path through mediation in penal cases. It also includes an explanatory report.
Indeed, the Dutch law on penal procedure is currently under reconstruction. Many professionals (including mediators, judges, public prosecutors, scientists and others) joint efforts during the past year to draft this text and lobby with politicians. This initiative was lead by Restorative Justice Nederland and the law faculty of Maastricht University.
The draft law on RJ was well received by the politicians of 7 different parties. On top of this, during the same afternoon, the Dutch Parliament voted for structural funding for mediation in penal matters in courts and for mediation in a police project in Utrecht. After strong lobby with politicians the decision was taken to grant long term funding for these mediation projects.
Already in December 2016, Wolthuis shared with us good RJ news from The Netherlands, when 1,5 million euros were granted for pilot projects on mediation in penal cases. It was then not yet sure if it would be structurally in bedded in the government budget.
Find more information and a press release published on the website of Restorative Justice Nederland (in Dutch only).