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Restorative Justice

What is Justice?

“Justice” to Aboriginal communities reflects a way of life that focuses on relationships and the interconnectedness of all living beings. It is based upon traditional forms of dispute settlement, where all involved are called together to respectfully discuss the issue, and to come to an agreement on how to best restore balance and harmony to the disrupted relationship and to the community. The Restorative Justice process creates a culturally sensitive space for respectful and restorative dialogue between parties, while focusing solely on the needs of all involved.

Opportunities

Restorative Justice is an opportunity to deal with conflicts involving our community members in a more culturally appropriate manner and in a way that is community focused and community driven. This program will empower Aboriginal people by creating a setting that is easier to relate to than the court system, holding those in conflict more accountable, giving community members the opportunity to be involved in the justice process, and having more meaningful outcomes for those involved.

Restorative Justice program focus

Community Conflict Resolution:
When there is conflict of any kind in a community, SIWS Restorative Justice Program can facilitate a peaceful dialogue process aimed towards resolution and meeting the needs of all involved.

Alternative Measures/ Diversion:
When charges are or could be involved, this is an alternative option to the formal court process for offenders who accept full responsibility for their behavior and want to make a personal amends to the harmed relationships with the victim and community.

Community Awareness:
Provide information and insight into the Criminal Justice System as it relates to First Nations people and educate about Restorative Justice Process.

Community Support:
Provide support navigating through the justice system, help connecting to resources, and 1-­‐1 mentorship.

Benefits of a restorative approach ?

The benefits of a restorative approach include:

  • All involved parties are able to express their needs, feelings, and concerns in a safe space. This creates a higher level of understanding which can create closure and healing.
  • Safe, respectful and confidential process with a skilled facilitator.
  • All parties affected decide on the outcome together. Every person affected can be heard.
  • Culturally sensitive programming provides more meaningful and appropriate outcomes.

What is a circle ?

The Pre-­Conference:
The Circle Keeper will meet each party separately to ensure all are prepared before the Circle can take place. This may mean certain levels of accountability, willingness to listen, ability to participate respectfully, sincere desire for resolution, and emotional readiness. During the Circle, The Keeper will ensure quality of the dialogue, and guide it in a healthy and constructive direction.

Confidentiality

The Circle is a confidential process between The Circle Keeper and the participants.

Statistics of Circles and their outcomes are tracked and recorded by the program for evaluation and legal purposes only.

The Circle:
A respectful process that works to create a safe space to discuss difficult issues and/or matters of conflict with the goal to improve relationships and resolve differences. The intent of the Circle is to work together to find resolution that meets the needs of every member involved. The process is based on a belief of respect and equality for all participants. The Circle Keeper facilitates the process using a culturally sensitive approach involving the values of community connection, respect, and p rayer prior to discussing the issues of conflict. The Peacemaking Circle is a voluntary process and requires full accountability, as well as consent and cooperation from all parties involved. The Outcome: The result of a Circle is a consensus decision between all parties. It will be documented in a written agreement, and signed by each party. The Circle Keeper reports the results back to the referral agency.

Where do referrals come from?

SIWS Restorative Justice Program partners with Aboriginal Communities and Leaderships, Native Court Workers, RCMP, School Districts, Crown Counsel, Probation, and other local agencies and institutions.

Community Referrals:
When there is conflict of any type in the community, community members can refer to RJ in order to call a Circle to resolve the conflict in a healthy way. Commonly these referrals are generated from schools, concerned parents or family members, and other members of the community who may need support.

Diversion Referrals:
After an incident that could result in criminal charges occurs, RCMP may determine that the incident is more appropriate to be dealt with in a restorative justice approach rather than pressing charges. T his involves assessing suitability and appropriateness.

Alternative Measures Referrals:
When a matter is brought before court, Crown Counsel can deem cases appropriate to be dealt with using restorative justice, rather than following through with charges. This involves assessing suitability and appropriateness. Probation Officers may also use this resource to support clients in taking steps towards healing and reconnecting after an event.

Referral Process:

Please contact the Restorative Justice Coordinator at (778)‐426‐2997 to learn more about referrals and the referral process.