Learning from National Mediation Service in Norway

In March 2014, representatives of the Foundation visited Oslo to learn from the rich experience of Norwegian partners with restorative and community justice. The main goal of the study visit, funded by EEA Grants, was to find partners for a joint project aimed at increasing public participation and countering social exclusion. The project is connected to current efforts by the Foundation to implement some elements of community courts (and community justice) into the Polish context. This is especially important, since while crime statistics in Poland have been continuously improving, this does not translate into citizens’ perceptions of safety and justice. Also, Poland is among European leaders in prison population (some 80,000 people), with 40,00 more awaiting to serve jail time. Existing sentencing patterns are relatively repressive and only incidentally include mediation and other restorative measures. Therefore, meetings at Konflikttraadet (government mediation agency, www.konfliktraadet.no) and at Oslo University, where we had a chance to discuss our project and some findings with prof. Niels Christie, were very helpful in drafting the joint project.

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