Restorative Justice Week in Canada begins on Sunday, which local Mounties say is an opportunity for them to inform the public about how the program benefits the community.
Through the Restorative Justice (RJ) process, offenders, victims and parties impacted by an offence are invited to discuss their circumstances, with the ultimate goal of repairing the harm caused to the victim and community.
“The RJ process requires wrongdoers to recognize the impact they have caused, to accept responsibility for their actions and to be actively involved in improving the situation,” read the Penticton RCMP news release.
In South Okanagan, the RJ program is expanding its reach within the school system to reduce harm and help repair broken relationships.
According to RCMP, results have shown that offenders who participate in the RJ process are “less likely to re-offend,” or stop offending altogether.
“The process has also resulted in increased satisfaction for both victims and offenders than the traditional criminal justice system approach,” read the Penticton RCMP news release.
Locally, the program has 21 volunteers and, to date, RCMP say there are 13 referrals in the South Okanagan and Similkameen area.
Participants can be referred through local RCMP, schools, businesses, prohibition and BC Prosecution Service.
Restorative Justice Week in Canada runs from November 20-26.