Restorative Justice

princegeorge.rcmp.ca

2017-02-10 13:26 PST

RCMP Restorative Justice, the newest program that Community Policing has taken on, is volunteer-based with a focus on offender accountability, problem solving, and creating an equal voice for offenders, victims, and community. Restorative Justice is an alternative to the justice system and offers the same protection, but includes everyone affected by a crime, costs less, reduces delays and resolves the problem when the offender admits responsibility. Healing relationships damaged by crime, and seeking a consensus agreement for the offender is an outcome of community justice forums which are held in a safe, controlled environment, and facilitated by trained Restorative Justice volunteers.

Image of a Restorative Justice circle


 

Please take a few minutes and watch an informational video on Restorative Justice, created in partnership with the Prince George Urban Aboriginal Justice Society.
Transcription

Text overlay stating: We acknowledge the land on which we live is the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the Lheidli T’enneh First Nations.

Described video: the digits 2021 in the middle of the screen. Numbers rapidly scroll back to stop at 1989. The last digit turns into a red sphere.

Voice: For over thirty years the Canadian Justice system has focused on a fairly standard process. An offender commits a crime, charges are laid in the courts, some combination of judges and juries will consider the charges, and if found guilty, will provide some form of a conviction in the form of restitution, probation, jail time or some combination of the three.

Described video: the 8 and 9 drop out and the red sphere moves close to the 1. The sphere bumps into the 1 and it breaks into pieces. A courtroom setting drops down from above, with the red sphere representing the offender. There is a jury box full of multi-coloured spheres and a judge sitting in a separate box. The boxes are brown in colour. The judge and jury and the boxes drop away from the screen, and the red sphere turns into a letter S with two grey bars overlaid to represent a dollar sign. The grey bars zoom in and become jail cell bars and the red sphere reappears behind the bars.

Voice: The problem with this method is it often doesn’t address the root cause of the crime, or take into account the reason for the person’s actions.

Described video: The jail bars disappear and the word accountability appears on the screen with the red sphere in place of the O. There is a thin, red line above the word accountability and on top of that line the words behaviour + harm appear.

Video: It also doesn’t address the needs of the person harmed. And more often than not, individuals who run through the criminal justice system have high rates of recidivism, meaning they are likely to commit crimes again.

Described video: The words disappear off the top of the screen and there is a red sphere and a green sphere left behind on a black background. The red sphere rolls into the green sphere and the green sphere rolls off the right side of the screen, leaving only the red sphere behind. Grey bars appear vertically on the screen again, in front of the red sphere.

Video: There is also a disproportionate number of Indigenous people within the justice system.

Described video: The grey bars disappear and the red sphere magnifies and turns into a pie graph. On the pie graph, there are two segments: a red segment and a purple segment. The purple segment is 30% of the pie graph and represents the inmates with Indigenous Ancestry. There is text overlay in red stating Total Inmate Population 2020 and text overlay in purple stating Inmates with Indigenous Ancestry 30%. The figures are attributed to Dr. Ivan Zinger, January 21, 2020.

Video: With all of the apparent problems and difficulties of this system, it begs the question, isn’t there a better way?

Described video: The pie graph begins to shrink in size and becomes fully red again and becomes the dot at the bottom of a question mark. The question mark is red and the size of the screen on a black background.

Video: And if so, what does that look like?

Described video: The question mark shrinks to a red sphere and becomes the ‘o’ in the word reflections on the title screen, which reads: A Restorative Lens: Reflections on Restorative Justice in Prince George.

Audio: Restorative justice is an approach to achieving justice that involves, to the extent possible, those who have a stake in a specific offence or harm to collectively identify and address harms, needs, and obligations in order to heal and put things as right as possible.

Described video: The spoken words are being written on the screen in red letters as the narrator speaks, under a blue RJ: Restorative justice is an approach to achieving justice that involves, to the extent possible, those who have a stake in a specific offence or harm to collectively identify and address harms, needs, and obligations in order to heal and put things as right as possible. The quote is attributed to Howard Zehr, copyright 2015, page 48. This is written in blue underneath the quotation.

Audio: Restorative justice is a peaceful alternative to the criminal court system.

Described video: Female on the screen identified as Linda Riches, PG RCMP Restorative Justice volunteer.

Audio: Restorative justice is base on tenants originally derived from Indigenous communal healing practices. It’s principals are based on respect, compassion and inclusivity. It encourages meaningful engagement and accountability and provides an opportunity for healing, reparation and reintegration.

Described video: The blue and red spheres both enter the screen again from the left and right side of the screen and approach the middle. They begin to circle around one another and are joined by other differently coloured spheres until there is a complete circle in the middle of the screen. The original red and blue spheres are at three o’clock and nine o’clock, respectively, and come together in the centre of the circle of spheres. Then all of the sphere in the outside of the circle begin to close in on the red sphere and fall behind it. Eventually only the red sphere remains on the screen.

Audio: Restorative justice has been present in cultures around the world for a very long time.

Described audio: Linda Riches returns to the screen

Audio:  We’ve taken a sample from the Aboriginal and Indigenous communities as to how they counteracted, you know, delinquent behaviour within their communities.

Described video: Male police officer on the screen identified as Marc Macapinlac, a Prince George RCMP officer

Audio: This year marks twenty-four years for restorative justice and alt measures here within our agency.

Described video: Female on the screen identified as Tracy Peters, Indigenous Justice worker Adult Team Lead, PGUAJS

Audio: Restorative justice has various forms and takes place at all stages of the justice system. But most commonly it’s applied to first time, non-violent offenders at the discretion of the arresting RCMP officer.

Described video: Four differently coloured spheres begin to bounce across the screen from left to right. As they bounce they connect with the words 1st, 2nd, 3rd. The last sphere is the red sphere and before it can hit the word 2nd the letters RJ drop down from the top of the screen and stop it from progressing past 1st. The other spheres and the words 2nd and 3rd disappear off the screen.

Audio: Now you cannot eliminate the criminal justice system for serious crime, but in partnership with the criminal justice system, restorative practice can be utilized.

Described video: Female on the screen, identified as Linda Parker, Community Policing & Restorative Justice Coordinator, PG RCMP.

Audio: Restorative justice is a good option for us. Perhaps we have a client or someone who’s accused of doing crime that may not necessarily fit into the current judicial system. People like younger youth who may not be carrying a criminal record, or maybe perhaps, you know, one of those youths that are kind of falling through the cracks. And it’s a way for us to kind of nip in the butt as to what’s going on with them in terms of their criminality. As the situation unfolds and the officer’s able to gather more information, he or she will decide whether this is an opportunity to forward this particular file to the restorative justice forum.

Described video: Cst. Macapinlac is on the screen speaking.

Audio: We usually start with the person that’s caused harm, to ensure that, in fact, the want to participate in the restorative justice program.

Described video: Linda Parker is on the screen speaking.

Audio: If the offender agrees that restorative justice would be an agreeable method, then all parties, including the victim, offender, and officer gather for a community justice forum. Here, the incident is discussed from all perspectives, feelings are shared, and then a restorative justice agreement is created, outlining the steps the offender must take as part of their restorative just ice healing journey.

Described video: The screen returns to the red sphere sitting on top of the word 1st with the blue RJ beside it. The word 1st disappears and the sphere falls to sit beside the RJ. The RJ slide of the screen to the right, leaving behind a trail of differently coloured spheres in a straight line beside the original red sphere. The line becomes a circle which begins to rotate slowly counter clockwise so that a different sphere is at the top with each rotation. The spheres then line up on the left of the page and shrink in size, becoming bullet points on a document entitled Restorative Justice Agreement

Audio: Sitting in circle in a community justice forum, oh my goodness, there are so many emotions that go along with that. If we are successful, there’s almost a transformation. Where you may begin in an adversarial situation where both the person that’s been harmed and the person harmed are angry, by the end, if they’ve heard and really listened to perspectives and listened to one another, oftentimes there’s a transformation that takes place and it’s amazing to observe that.

Described video: Linda Parker is on the screen speaking.

Audio: There was a lot of resolutions for us and for me personally. I forgave the young fellow and that was a big thing for me. We all got to talk and explain what was happening. And the young fella, I think, started to feel that he had injured us in a way. Being a part of the program and sitting around the table and hearing his parents and himself, and the officer and the people from the program, they led me to peace.

Described video: John Enemark, person harmed is on the screen, speaking.

 


Audio: Various forms of restorative practice are used throughout the world. Its benefits are far reaching and, most importantly, postitively impact all those affected by crime.

Described video: A large red sphere that take up the entire screen drops from the top. It turns into a spinning globe with little red dots in various places all over the continents, suggesting these are placed restorative practices are used.

Audio: We look at what does everybody need to move forward.

Described video: Linda Riches is on screen speaking.

Audio: The victim can help us to make recommendations for community service hours, for counseling, for whatever they think that the offender might need. Or what the victim feels they need in order to be able to move on from this. Sometimes that includes restitution or money paid back if there’s damages or harm done in that way. Other times the victim might just want an apology or just to see this person face-to-face and say look, like, this is how you’ve affected me.

Described video: Female on screen identified as Emma Stubbs, Restorative Justice Volunteer, PG RCMP, is speaking.

Audio: If followed through and done correctly, everyone benefits from restorative justice. The community becomes more connected, the parties involved have actual resolutions, and a sense of responsibility to each other increases. Not to mention the statistical decrease in recidivism. There’s a misconception that offenders aren’t actually held accountable for their actions, but in fact, although non-punitive, restorative justice results in more positive outcomes by finding a solution that fosters accountability and the healing of damaged relationships.

Described video: The red sphere reappears at the top left of the screen and begins bouncing down a set of multi-coloured steps diagonally to the right of the screen. Once at the bottom, it is joined by four other differently coloured spheres in a straight line. A blue rectangle lifts the red sphere, which is in the middle of the line, up higher than the other four spheres. The image begins to shrink and the red sphere and rectangle become the i in the words Restorative Justice, which appear on the screen in blue. The four multi-coloured spheres fade into the text and disappear.

Audio:  It gives us an opportunity to slow things down. You know, to sit someone down and show to them this is how you’re actually affecting people. This is how you’ve traumatized this person.

Described video: Cst. Macapinlac is on screen speaking.

Audio: Taking less time to the court system for files that don’t need to go there, they can be solved within community, through, whether it’s Community Policing or Prince George Urban Aboriginal Justice Society.

Described video: Tracy Peters is on screen speaking.

Audio: I just feel like jail, charges, all that stuff, like, if anything, it will just help people get more close minded. They won’t get opened up to different communities that you have to get connected to and work with to get over all this stuff. You actually get involved with community, you get involved with your mess up. You get involved with your mistake and you get involved with getting better and bettering yourself.

Described video: An audio bar is in the center of the screen and is tracking the person speaking, who is only identified as an offender.

Audio: We’re able to show people that there’s another way to deal with things. From the person who’s been harmed point of view, to be able to see that. To see that the person can have a very full and happy and productive life and know that you’ve been heard in the process. Maybe that’s good enough.

Described video: Linda Riches is on screen speaking.

Audio: It’s not a hand slap, it’s opportunity. The individual that has caused harm really needs to reflect on their behaviour and needs to physically face the person that they’ve harmed. And it’s not easy to admit that you’re wrong, that you’ve made a mistake, and to offer up something to give back to that person and community to make up for the harm that has been done.

Described video: Linda Parker is on screen speaking.

Audio: From the outside, not actually being in the process, it doesn’t look like much. But they sit you down. They make you pretty much speak to yourself, speak the truth to yourself on what you did and why it was wrong. And how to make it better.

Described video: Offender speaking with audio bar tracking their words. No person is present on screen.

Audio: They’re looking at themselves, within, to why they offended or caused harm to somebody. And so they have to do a lot of work.  

Described video: Tracy Peters is on screen speaking.

Audio: Young people are so easily led, especially by somebody who’s older than they are. And that’s what happened with this young fellow. It was his first time getting into trouble. And the police officer knew that. And it is so much better than getting them into the system. So much better.

Described video: A female is on screen speaking, identified as Kelly Enemark, a person harmed.

Audio: After going through it and seeing what it did for myself and my wife, I really feel that it’s a growth for him and us because we were able to forgive.

Described video: John Enemark is on screen speaking

Audio: So I understand there’s people in the community who feel that it’s just a tap on the wrist. Oh, they’ll just get a few hours of community service and have to say they’re sorry and they’ll be done. My question for them is what do you need to see? What would make it right for you? If someone close to you had caused somebody else harm, what do you want to see happen to that person? Do you want us to just, um, ignore whatever they need in life and say, well, they had their chance and they blew it, let’s lock them up? Most people can change, if given an opportunity to change. And that really is what this process is about. It’s about giving people an opportunity to say I take responsibility for my actions. I want to make a change, and I need some help, some guidance on how to do that. 

Described video: Linda Riches is on screen speaking.

Described video: Logos for the Prince George Urban Aboriginal Justice Society and Prince George RCMP Restorative Justice appear on the screen.

 

Learn more about the Urban Aboriginal Justice Society.

For more information about Restorative Justice and the Prince George RCMP, please contact our Community Policing Office at 250-561-3366.

Released by

Cpl. Craig Douglass

Communications NCO / Media Relations Officer
Prince George RCMP
princegeorge.rcmp.ca
455 Victoria Street, Prince George, BC, V2L 0B7
Office: 250-561-3321
Cell: 250-640-1758

Email: pg_media@rcmp-grc.gc.ca

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