Restorative Justice Partnership Breakfast
On June 15th, Fairview Community Restorative Justice hosted a breakfast for its partners. FCRJ Partners include; the RCMP, Victims Services, councils from the Town, MD 136, Clear Hills County and the Village of Hines Creek. Our CAOs and Mayor.
The purpose of the breakfast was to thank all our partners and to provide a breif overview of the programs 6 year history along with the direction we are heading.
Our program started in October of 2006. Our first RCMP referral was March 23rd, 2007. Since then we have had 36 cases that include misceif, shoplifiting, fraud, assault and vandalism. Many of those cases would not have seen the court room as they were considered minor offenses. But usually not minor to those affected.
Through our program we are able to provide those most affected by crime a safe process in which to ask questions and have a say in what the consequences that person faces. Good old fashioned ethics and values.
While a huge part of doing this program has been to facilitate a safe process for victims of crime we discovered genuine value of providing offenders the opportunity to make it right. A good way to illustrated was by sharing a couple of stories that seemed very minor but spoke powerfully to the process of restorative justice.
One case was shoplifting, the other a mischief case. The common traits of the 2 stories were that on first apprearance the costs financially, property wise and physically appeared minimal. One cases involved shoplifting a chocolate bar and the other a prank where damage was more to the relationship than the property.
The outcome was that in both cases the person harmed had opportunity to share how they'd been affected, ask and get answers that were important to them. There was a genuine understanding by the offender in both cases of what the real damage was. Both cases resulted in by true reparation where the consequences directly related to the crime.
While our program deals with adults as well as youth the majority of our cases do involve youth. Through our programs 36 case, restitution to victims in the amount of $8, 979.33 has been paid. There have also been 364 community service hours that in every instance possible clearly shows direct relation to the offense.
The Fairview Community Restorative Justice program is a member of the Alberta Restorative Justice Association (ARJA) Shirley Lyman has played an important role both locally and provincially developing policies and procedure for restorative justice. Shirley was asked to sit on the ARJA Board and has done so for 5 years. FCRJ is highly respected provincially for the work we do here in Fairview. We will be presentating at the ARJA Conference in Calgary in November 2012. Our programs successes and challenges have given us lots of opportunity to grow, mentor and support developing programs.
As for the direction we are heading. Short term we are looking forward to working closely with GPRC using RJ on Campus in the 2012-1013 year. We are also working towards training our facilitators as Youth Justice Committees. Section 18 of the Youth Criminal Justice Act allows volunteer community youth justice committees to assist in any aspect of the administration of the Act or in any programs or services for young offenders.
We are excited about the direction we are heading and could not do it without the support and referrals from the RCMP, local businesses, schools, Rotary, Fairview Chamber of Commerce, Ignite Youth with NPYSA. Our hope is that our possible referral sources will always consider restorative justice when appropriate to create change when they deal with vandalism, shoplifting and mischief.
We would like to thank all the councils. This past August we were unsure of our immediate future with the cut in funding to the Alberta RJ grant program. We would like to acknowledge the generous support from Clear Hills County and the Village of Hines Creek.
Thanks to our partners by written agreement for in-kind services and gifts to the program are the: Fairview Detachment of the RCMP, SGT. Bracken, Cpl. Giles and the members who keep sending us referrals. And thank you to our Victims Services coordinator Linda Moffat and advocates who work with us to ensure needs of the victim are met. Thank you to the Government of Alberta, Solicitors General Department, for providing the funding to grow this program. Thank you Hector Goudreau for your government support locally.
Fairview and District Family & Community Support Services, Family & Community Resource Centre, for providing in-kind support through office space, phone etc. The Town of Fairview accounting department, for managing the RJ Coordinators payroll.
If it were not for this wonderful team of community-residing volunteer mediation facilitators our program would not be what it is today.
Our programs success is a result of those who support, participate and facilitate.
A special thank you to; Ezena Adams, David Burgess, Leanne Johnstone, Diane Lund, Pamela MacKay, China Seiger, Rebecca Stewart, Fran Story, Matthew Strydhorst, Sheila Wegreen Jo-Anne Shaw, and Shirley Lyman. A thank you as well to Lorne Brown who sits on our WCAA board and contributes so much.
We look forward to 2012/2013.