The path to restorative justice

From Nov. 15 to 22 it is Restorative Justice Week.

Arne Petryshen

From Nov. 15 to 22 it is Restorative Justice Week.

Restorative justice is a court-diversion program — rather than going to court, it can be used to attempt to repair the harm that’s been done.

Doug McPhee, from the Cranbrook and District Restorative Justice Society, said there are some initial requirements before restorative justice is considered.

“The first is it has to be under the offences that we can cover under restorative justice,” McPhee said. “As far as the criminal system is concerned, we deal with things like mischief under $5,000, theft under $5,000 and assault, as long as it’s not family assault — violence against women and children we don’t deal with.”

He explained it diverges from the court system.

“In the court system, in some cases, it takes a considerable amount of time determining guilt,” he said. “With restorative justice, the offender admits to what he or she has done. The next part is that they need to be willing to repair the harm that they’ve done. Lastly the victim has to be willing to participate.”

If they can get all that together, then they work through restorative justice.

There are also a lot of forms of restorative justice.

“There is the traditional community forum approach to those sort of things,” he said. “Another alternative is the peace making circle, used for settling disputes and that sort of business.”

The society has an agreement with Crown council.

“If they see something that, as it works it’s way through, is more aptly handled by restorative justice, they can refer to us as well,” he say.

McPhee has been working in restorative justice with the society since 2004. His wife has been working at it since 2002.

“There are other people in the community that have been at it longer than us in terms of providing service to Cranbrook in terms of restorative justice,” he said. “We’ve all seen a lot of very nice solutions that do speak to the whole business of repairing the harm.”

He said another part of the business is recidivism. That is how often someone who has committed a crime recommits a crime.

He said the recidivism rates for those who go through restorative justice are lower.

“So they learn something from going through restorative justice,” he said. “They are connected with their victims and they see the impact of the poor choices that they’ve made, and it encourages them to not commit the same or similar offences in the future — which is what we all want.”

McPhee said another part of it is the stigmatization, as much of the time after going through the courts the person is labelled after they commit the crime.

“That encourages them to live a negative lifestyle, in my estimation,” he said. “Restorative justice encourages them to rebuild relationships between offender and their community of support and the victims in their community support. It removes all the labels and tries to bring people back to where they were before it happened.”

The Cranbrook and District Restorative Justice Society is a non-profit and depends on charitable donations to operate. He noted that the court system are tax payer funded and so societies like theirs lessen the burden on tax payers.

It has operated in Cranbrook as a society since October 2007, but has been around in other forms since 2000.

McPhee said he sees the advantages and benefits on a daily basis and that keeps him in it.

The society also supports the Highway of Tears showings coming up in the area later this month. The society is a partner in the Humanity Network, which is putting on the presentations of the documentary on Nov. 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the College of the Rockies and Nov. 26 at 1 p.m. at the Stage Door.


Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

It happened this week in 1914

June 13 - 19: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

Most Read