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Seminar emphasises the everyday in restorative justice

Clair Aldington and Alyson Halcrow.

A SEMINAR on restorative justice with an emphasis on day-to-day community involvement with ex-prisoners will be held next month.

The fifth annual seminar in the ‘Unpacking’ series – titled Unpacking Everyday Encounters – will be at Islesburgh Community Centre, in Lerwick, on 5 June.

The day long seminar event involves speakers including Rob Strachan of the Scottish Prison Service (SPS), Families Outside – the only Scottish charity working with the families of prisoners – and many others.

It will explore the importance of everyday conversations to promote health and wellbeing and to tackle issues such as stigma, loneliness and isolation.

The seminar is hosted by Shetland’s community and family mediation team and the Space2face restorative justice and arts project in association with Shetland Community Justice Partnership and chaired by Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael.

Event joint organiser Alyson Halcrow said: “This year’s seminar is the fifth in our annual ‘Unpacking’ series which we started in 2013 in order to explore topics relating to restorative ways of working. ‘Unpacking Everyday Encounters’ follows the success of our seminars on apology, forgiveness and justice over the last few years.

“The theme for this year came from a remark that Rob Strachan made, in his presentation at last year’s event, about the importance of banal conversations in promoting wellbeing, particularly for prisoners returning to their communities. Feedback we received after that event was that people wanted another seminar and an opportunity to explore the issues further.”

She added that the annual seminar series “explores concepts that are key to our work in conflict resolution and restorative justice and which are so important in a small community like Shetland.”

The SPS spokesman’s opening presentation will stress the role that communities can play in the re-integration of ex-prisoners and the power of everyday encounters in that context. He will also discuss the changing prison population and the impact this has on the SPS and other public services.

Other topics will include a presentation by local consultant, Fiona Robertson, on ‘Making a Difference: Tackling loneliness, isolation and stigma in Shetland.’ This follows the 2016 Shetland Commission on Tackling Inequality which highlighted that loneliness, isolation and stigma is having a major impact on people’s lives in Shetland .

Workshops in the afternoon will be led by Karen Manson from Shetland College UHI, procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie, the criminal justice social work team and Clair Aldington and Alyson Halcrow from the Space2face charity.

The event is free and open to all but booking is essential. Please contact space2faceshetland@gmail.com or alyson.halcrow@shetland.org.

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