Eye on restorative justice

Letters

Editor:

The Restorative Justice Program of the Sunshine Coast (RJPSC) would like to warmly invite our communities to partake in Restorative Justice Week this Nov. 18 to 24. RJPSC has been committed to healing harms and restoring relationships across local communities since 1998, before becoming an incorporated society in 2004.

Restorative justice views crime first and foremost as harm done to people and relationships, rather than a violation of the state. Through careful attention and consideration to the needs of all those involved, restorative justice aims to heal harms and foster strong connections within community. Restorative justice involves both “victims” and “offenders.” The heartbeat of this process is the focus on the needs of victims, as their role is considerably diminished in traditional criminal justice proceedings. The needs of “offenders” are also addressed, and they are encouraged to take accountability for their actions. This often brings them into communication with those they have harmed. Through this those who have caused harm are allowed the opportunity to make things right through consensus decision-making of all those involved in the incident(s), and are able to tell their own story to contextualize their actions.

Restorative justice is well received across Canada, and sees a very low recidivism rate with those who engage in its processes. RJ also shows high rates of “victim” satisfaction and “offender” accountability.

Essential to a restorative justice program is the support of the community and an extremely dedicated, wonderful group of volunteer board members, circle keepers, facilitators, and agreement mentors who make it all possible. If you would like to learn more about our program and how you might become involved, the Restorative Justice Program of the Sunshine Coast is hosting information tables at the Trail Bay Mall on Nov. 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and at the Sunnycrest Mall on Nov. 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Nancy Denham, Sechelt

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