The capital of Lower Silesia has specialised in restorative justice for a few years. On 8th November 2021, it symbolically joined the group of Restorative Cities on the first day of the international conference ‘Restorative City – Building A Bridge Of Understanding’ held in Wroclaw.
‘Today we can officially call Wroclaw a Restorative Justice City. But this does not mean that we stop at this point. This title should rather be treated as a promise to reinforce further actions and to open up to restorative culture even further. It is also a commitment to popularise social intervention measures and procedures among other local governments,’ said the Mayor of Wroclaw Jacek Sutryk when opening the two-day conference ‘Restorative City – Building a Bridge of Understanding’.
Wroclaw has developed an original program of community service to be performed by convicted persons. Under this program, almost 2,000 inscriptions and graffiti with hate speech are erased from the city walls by convicted persons every year. This means even 100,000 hours of work a year for the community of Wroclaw. In this way, convicts repay their debt towards the community.
For many years, the city has supported various actions having some goals in common: dialogue, subjectivity and establishing relationships. Wroclaw is known for the dynamic activity of mediators’ organisations. The inhabitants have the Mediation Emergency Service at their disposal, and school and teen mediations are popularised, too.
The term ‘Restorative Justice City’ was used for the first time in order to characterise the English city of Hull during the IIRP World Conference: Restorative Practices Across Disciplines in 2010. Today, the title of Restorative Justice City can also be used by Bristol, Brighton, Hove, Leuven, Como, Tempio Pausania, Whanganui, Oakland and (from today) Wroclaw.
Examples of restorative justice actions carried out in Wroclaw
Wroclaw Centre for Restorative Justice: community service for persons sentenced to the non-isolating restriction of freedom. An initiative of the municipal government and the curatorial court service of the Wroclaw district. The city organises community service for persons with a valid freedom restriction sentence. Since 2016, it has included also the removal of vandalism acts and hate speech signs in Wroclaw. 5,000 removed inscriptions, over 2,000 hate speech signs removed in 361 locations in 2021, 1,300 convicted persons providing community service – data for today, 210,000 ordered hours to be worked, over 90,00 hours worked this year.
Ambassadors of Dialogue in schools
An educational project addressed to teachers at Wroclaw schools and kindergartens. An Ambassador of Dialogue is a person working at a Wroclaw school who is interested in topics of openness and anti-discrimination measures and the development of the atmosphere of dialogue in his environment.
Actions carried out by the Dom Pokoju Foundation; conflict management and teen mediations, comprehensive educational activities addressed to schools and other educational facilities. Mediation emergency service – free support in solving disputes through mediation available to all Wroclaw inhabitants. Model of working with an ethnically diverse community – Program for the Romanian Male and Female Roma.