This week is Restorative Justice Week, recognizing the role it plays in the correctional system in BC.
Miniser of Justice Suzanne Anton issued a statement about the proclamation, saying crimes are a ‘violation of law and a violation of people, relationships and peace in a community.’
“While our criminal justice system can deal with those who break the law, restorative justice offers a parallel, voluntary process that seeks to address the needs of victims while holding offenders accountable,” she stated. “It provides offenders an opportunity to fulfill their obligations to society and to their victims in ways that can have a more meaningful and lasting impact than the traditional criminal justice process.”
Here in Fort St. John, the North Peace Justice Society operates restorative justice programs.
“Restorative Justice is definitely an alternative to dealing with harms that has been done in the community,” said Candace Peever with the North Peace Justice Society.
Not only does it appear to be an effective system, but restorative justice also takes the strain off of the government financially — compared to other correctional systems. According to Peever, it saves the BC government about $200,000 to $300,000 depending on the year.
Last week, as part of Crime Prevention Week, Suzanne Anton also announced that the 2015-16 civil forfeiture grant funding call would include a stream dedicated to restorative justice.
“The benefits of restorative justice are many – and this week aims to highlight the important work underway by those committed to its success. I encourage you to learn more about restorative justice and the ways we can make BC safer, together,” Anton concluded in her statement.