Restorative Justice

at post-sentencing level supporting and protecting victims

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VOM mediation in prison settings

(Translation of Abstract: M. Lourdes Fernandez Manzano - Spanish version)

Jose E. Paul.


The General Management of Correctional Services of the Justice Department of the Government of Catalonia, which the powers of execution of imprisonment sentences have been transferred by the Government of Spain, works on the promotion of victim-offender mediation in prison settings regarding offenders that have been accused or convicted of crimes.

First, the application of the Program in Mediation and Reparation in the Criminal Jurisdiction consists in detection of the cases that are suitable for victim-offender mediation (VOM) and reparation between prisoners, who can be in the pre-trial or post-sentencing stage and victims of crimes. A mediator and a representative of the Sub-General Management of Reparation and Law Enforcement Community undertake the mediation process.

Moreover, it must be remembered that in all VOM programs in prisons settings for offenders of violent crimes, whether general violence, domestic or sexual, seeking to achieve empathy with the victims is a part of the process. It is considered that the program objectives are not achieved if the offender is not able to understand the position of the victim and to empathy with her.

On the other hand, criminal and prison law establish that payment of compensation to the victim is required to enjoy the “open penitentiary regime” (This term is referred to offenders serving time in prison but in a process of accredited social integration. They released daily for a certain period of time, using existing community resources.Note of the translator.).Therefore, if there is not an effort on reparation, consistent with the financial possibilities of the prisoner, this semi-release arrangement cannot be granted.

This same requirement arises for the granting of parole and the possibility that the judge imposes the payment of a specific amount of compensation to the victim as a rule of conduct while on probation.

The Spaniard Penal Code also links the possibility of an earlier parole if the offender has participated effectively and favorably in programs of reparation to victims.

For the protection of victims, prison authorities have a duty to complete protection orders for victims and ensure that restraining orders and communication bans are met, especially when offenders are on probation.

Finally, when it is expected the release of an inmate serving a sentence or security measure for violent crimes and high risk of recidivism is detected, these circumstances are reported to the authorities in order to establish mechanisms to improve the risk management.

José Paul i Torrent has a law degree and a diploma in criminology from the University of Barcelona; he also has masters in Criminology from the University Santiago de Cali. His career has been linked to the practice of law, first in Barcelona for ten years until 1988 and later in Colombia until 1991. He is a jurist and criminologist and has been deputy director of the Prison Treatment in Tarragona and Barcelona Prison for Men. He has also been an Inspector of Services of at the Prison Services, Rehabilitation and Juvenile Justice Office until 2010.He is currently the Head of the General Classification Prison Services. He has been a professor of criminology and has taught for 18 years (1992 to 2010) at the Faculty of Law, University of Barcelona, initially at the Institute of Criminology and later graduated in Private Investigation. He is related to the Centre for Legal Studies and Specialized Training, which develops material about prison issues, human rights and prisons, and training courses for prison officials. He is the author of the book “New Legislation to Minors Introduction to the Minor Code”


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With the financial support from the Criminal Justice Programme of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibilty of "Schleswig-Holsteinischer Verband für soziale Strafrechtpflege; Straffälligen- und Opferhilfe e.V" and can in no way be taken to refect the views of the European Commission.