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Province supports programs that reconcile victims and offenders

The Alberta government is taking steps that will hold more offenders responsible for their actions and help to make things right for victims and communities.

The Alberta government is taking steps that will hold more offenders responsible for their actions and help to make things right for victims and communities.

The province is providing a total of $351,000 in grants to assist 11 organizations across Alberta that offer restorative justice services.

“Restorative justice organizations strengthen our communities,” says Jonathan Denis, Solicitor General and Minister of Public Security. "These organizations provide services that assist victims in their recovery and help bring a sense of closure with what they have gone through.”

The funding will help enable non-profit, charitable and community-based restorative justice organizations to recruit and train new volunteers, pay staff wages, offer conferencing facilities and/or work with schools, the Crown and courts to raise awareness of the program.

“The human costs of crime have a significant impact on the well-being of everyone in Alberta,” says Verlyn Olson, Minister of Justice and Attorney General. “Restorative justice not only helps victims heal but also offers offenders the chance to take responsibility and understand the human impact of their actions.”

Alberta Solicitor General and Public Security continues to work closely with stakeholders and communities through partnerships in crime prevention, offender rehabilitation, and community transition supports. Restorative justice provides an alternative or supplement to any sentence and can be initiated at any time during the criminal justice process.

More information about crime prevention and the restorative justice program is on the Alberta Solicitor General and Public Security crime prevention website at www.crimeprevention.gov.ab.ca.

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Media inquiries may be directed to:

Patrick Mears
Communications
Solicitor General and Public Security
Office: 780-427-6171

To call toll free within Alberta dial 310-0000.

Backgrounder

Restorative justice grant recipients

Restorative justice organizations

Name of project

Grant

Funding Aim

The Calgary John Howard Society

Restorative Justice for Youth, a Continuum of Services

$40,000

Continue victim/offender dialogue, conferencing programs and crime impact sessions

Mennonite Central Committee (Calgary)

Empowering Victims through Restorative Justice Interventions

$25,000

Offer conferencing services for youths who admit responsibility at Calgary Youth Court

Mediation and Restorative Justice Centre (Edmonton)

Restorative Practices Services

$50,000

Support the continued development and operation of the victim offender dialogue program

Alberta Restorative Justice Association (Edmonton)

Strengthening and Supporting the Practice of Restorative Justice

$45,000

Develop a community restorative justice implementation manual, and build collaborative networks

Alberta Conflict Transformation Society (Edmonton)

Building a Restorative Practice Culture in the Community

$29,429

Run restorative justice workshops in the community and best practice development

Medicine Hat John Howard Society

Medicine Hat Restorative Justice Project

$43,875

Help increase referrals and fund project coordinator wages

Boys and Girls Club of Wetaskiwin Society

Wetaskiwin Restorative Justice Program

$28,000

Provide restorative justice conferencing for young people

Fairview and Area Well Community Action Association

Fairview Restorative Justice Committee

$26,160

Continue the development of the restorative justice program by working with schools, Crown and court to gain referrals

Cold Lake Victim Services

Cold Lake Aboriginal Restorative Justice

$25,536

Work with police and prosecutors to provide restorative justice opportunities

Innisfail Restorative Justice Society

Restorative Justice: A Much Needed Alternative

$20,000

Recruit and train new volunteers, update professional materials and enhance community awareness

Nipsihkopahk Family Justice Circles (Hobbema)

Building Relations in Restorative Justice

$18,000

Ensure restorative justice practices are well known and broadly implemented

TOTAL

$351,000

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Media inquiries may be directed to:

Patrick Mears
Communications
Solicitor General and Public Security
Office: 780-427-6171

To call toll free within Alberta dial 310-0000.

 
 

Restorative Justice in Action

Below are two examples from the Innisfail Restorative Justice Society that illustrate how restorative justice can be used to reconcile victims and perpetrators.

Graveyard vandalism: Three young people were in an Innisfail graveyard when one of them accidently knocked over a headstone. The 14 and 15 year olds then knocked over more headstones, including one from 1903, and vandalized a total of 120 graves. The damage cost the town $150,000.

When the RCMP caught the perpetrators, charges were laid. It was decided restorative justice would help the young people learn the consequences of their actions, and enable victims to heal. Restorative justice practitioners then brought the victims and the perpetrators together in facilitated sessions.

JJ Beauchamp from Innisfail Restorative Justice Society, who has been involved in more than 700 restorative justice cases, said: “It was an extremely emotional case. There were a lot of tears from victims.”

To make amends, the young people collaborated with the victims to research and write essays about how the people whose graves had been damaged had settled in Innisfail.

“When the young people vandalized the headstones they never thought about how the families would feel,” said Beauchamp. “However, during the restorative justice process they became truly sorry for their actions.”

Parked car vandalism: A few years ago, three young people vandalized 42 vehicles parked in Innisfail streets, causing about $2,100 worth of damage. They destroyed windshield wipers, stole gas caps and broke aerials. After catching the perpetrators, the RCMP contacted Innisfail Restorative Justice Society.

“One of the victims told the perpetrators that his wife was ill and he relied on the car to take her to hospital if an emergency arose,” said Beauchamp. “The offenders did not realize their actions could have put someone’s life in danger - restorative justice made them think, and they subsequently turned their lives around.”

The young people did 60 hours of community work in the town and also paid for the damage caused to the vehicles. One of them has since joined the RCMP.

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Media inquiries may be directed to:

Patrick Mears
Communications
Solicitor General and Public Security
Office: 780-427-6171

To call toll free within Alberta dial 310-0000.