A Story to Follow from The Calgary Herald Posted on October 16th, 2010

Calgary Jews may meet with teen who defaced memorial, synagogue.

What is the appropriate response to hate?

Members of Calgary's Jewish community are trying to decide whether they should meet with a teenager who last year committed the city's first confirmed hate crime.

On Friday, Crown prosecutor Jenny Rees said community conferencing, a youth court initiative where the perpetrator meets his victim in a closed-door setting to discuss ramifications of the crime, was suggested by a probation officer in a pre-sentence report.

"I know there might be certain victims unwilling to have it in this case," she said.

 "It is something that is done voluntarily and might be beneficial to the accused and the victim. If that is a possibility to have community conferencing, it might be worthwhile."

Read entire story through the Calgary Herald link.

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Calgary Jews may meet with teen who defaced memorial synagogue.

It will be interesting to see if all parties agree to the voluntary process and what the outcome will be.

If this forum takes place and is successful, will courts look to other Community Restorative Justice Programs to partner in repairing harms both legally and restoratively?

It doesnt have to be an either/or scenario.There are numerous stories that have shown there is power and transformation in hearing someones story. 

Another Alberta story posted in the Edmonton Journal September 1, 2007 shows restorative justice programs are not the soft option they have the reputation for. It is all about accountability and consequences for the offender and allowing the victim of crime to have a voice.

The story took place July 22, 2005 when Andrew Balser and another friend were with Kyle Pickett when the trio decided to ring doorbells in the neighbourhood. The plan was to ride on the trunk of Pickett's car during the getaway.

The first time, during a test run, Pickett -- who received his driver's licence only a month before -- pulled away and started swerving with Balser and the friend on the trunk.

Andrew fell off and suffered massive head injuries. He died two days later. Police investigators estimated Pickett was going 87 kilometres an hour in a 50 km/h zone when the accident happened.

Both articles below posted by the Edmonton Journal via Canada.com are important as they detail the story and the outcome that show the importances of processes like this in addition to the court system. 

Mary Bracken Coordinator for Fairview Community Restorative Justice

 READ MORE...       Circle sentencing harsher than jail

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 Do you feel that Calgary's Jewish Community and the young man whose been charged with this hate crime will benefit from the conference asked for in the pre-sentence report? 

Pamela MacKay