Restorative Justice Project

Program snapshot

Age group: Not age specific

Gender: Mixed (male and female)

Population served: Adult offenders; Victims of crime; Youth in contact with law enforcement (and/or at risk)

Topic: Aggressive/violent behaviours; Bullying/cyberbullying; Property crime; Recidivism

Setting: Urban area; Criminal justice setting; Social services setting

Location: Alberta

Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 0

Continuum of intervention: Secondary crime prevention; Tertiary crime prevention

Brief Description

Alberta Conflict Transformation Society (ACTS) provides community conferencing for offenders and victims in a restorative justice process in order to assist the offender, victim(s), and community in being heard, moving on from the lasting effects of wrongdoing, and repairing the harm caused during a criminal offence.

The Restorative Justice project was set up to:

  • Address crime created by at risk youth in the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) Southeast Division through a restorative justice process. The crime issues are theft, graffiti, assault, mischief, break & entering and bullying;
  • Even though youth will be targeted, families and community members will be involved in the Restorative Justice process;
  • The restorative justice process that will be used will be community conferencing. From identifying the crime on the street to referral, community conference and follow-up, ACTS with EPS and Alberta Justice will be active partners involved; and
  • Encourage youth to take responsibility for their actions and, with the community, find alternatives and meaningful ways to address the harm created through criminal actions..

Goals

The main goals of the Restorative Justice project are to:

  • Establish a program and operational structure (with best practice standards) in order to develop a restorative justice project to address community safety where youth and community are most at-risk;
  • Maximize positive impacts on the victim and minimize unintended consequences and harms on the community (reduce victimization and increase changed behavior through impact understanding and dialogue);
  • Identify at-risk youth who would benefit from the program and be able to take responsibility for creating an unsafe community; and
  • Decrease recidivism and to increase the ability of participants to contribute positively to their community.

Clientele

The appropriate clientele for the Restorative Justice project are youth in conflict with the law who need access to a restorative process as an alternative to the formal justice system, as well as an opportunity to be supported by their community and take responsibility for their actions. The at-risk youth will then have the potential to repair the harm done and become contributing members in the community.

Core Components

The core components of the Restorative Justice project principles that guide community conferencing include:

  • Encounter: Create opportunities for victims, offenders, and community members who want to do so to meet to discuss the crime and its aftermath;
  • Amend: Expect offenders to take steps to repair the harm they have caused;
  • Reintegration: Seek to restore victims and offenders as whole, contributing members of society; and
  • Inclusion: Provide opportunities for parties with a stake in a specific crime to participate in its resolution.

Implementation Information

Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:

  • Organizational requirements: In order to complete a conference, there must be:
    • An accused who takes responsibility;
    • A victim willing to participate;
    • A defense lawyer who sees advantage for his client;
    • Support from the family of the accused;
    • Police and Crown who recognize the opportunity; and
    • A process that supports the mandate as it moves through the system.
    A critical cornerstone of future partnerships and program(s) involving EPS should be:
    • A well-informed Executive Leadership;
    • Organizational Support from Leadership; and
    • A dedicated central EPS program committee or coordinator.
  • Partnerships: MOU between Alberta Conflict Transformation Society and the Edmonton Police Service.
  • Training and technical assistance: Limited information on this topic.
  • Risk assessment tools: Limited information on this topic.
  • Materials & resources: Limited information on this topic.

International Endorsements

The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:

  • Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Not applicable.
  • Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: Not applicable.
  • SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Not applicable.
  • Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.

Gathering Canadian Knowledge

Canadian Implementation Sites

The Restorative Justice project was implemented in Edmonton (Alberta) from 2010 to 2014. Funding was provided through the Safe Communities Innovation Fund (SCIF), Government of Alberta.

Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies

No information available.

Cost Information

A social return on investment (SROI) has been conducted on Restorative Justice project. The findings from this study have shown the following:

  • By investing $594,608 in the program over four years, the SROI ratio for ACTS is 1.63:1, indicating that for every dollar invested in the program, there is a return of $1.63 in social value created. This indicates the significance of addressing crime using restorative justice measures, as opposed to the traditional processes and sanctions;
  • Not only are the costs of utilizing the justice system avoided, but the holistic approach of restorative justice prevents youth from the long-term effects of having a criminal record, which can often lead to decreased employment and lifestyle options; and
  • Social value was created through the diversion of costs associated with prosecuting offenders through the formal CJS as well as through avoiding costs associated with victim’s services.

References

Alberta Community Crime Prevention Organizations. (2015). Social Return on Investment (SROI) Case Study: Restorative Justice Project. Recipient of Safe Communities Innovation Fund, Government of Alberta. Available from: https://open.alberta.ca/publications/safe-communities-innovation-fund-pilot-project-executive-summaries 

For more information on this program, contact:

Alberta Conflict Transformation Society
Tamie Perryment
Telephone: (780) 944-3616
E-mail: perry_r39@hotmail.com


Record Entry Date - 2018-03-12

Date modified: