|A quick overview of a Restorative Justice process:
Tri-County Restorative Justice receives a referral ( from Police, Crown Court or Corrections)
A pre-session for person who caused harm is scheduled ( this may be 1 meeting or more)
A pre-session with victim(s) is scheduled
- Pre-sessions with community representatives may be scheduled
- As a result of pre-sessions , the caseworker will identify who will attend RJ session/ Who will help impact the outcome of moving forward?
Restorative Justice session (face to face meeting with all participants) is scheduled
At the end the RJ session, all participants make a decision about a Restorative Justice agreement and agree on completion dates / What needs to be done?
The Restorative Justice Agreement is monitored by the Caseworker
If the agreement is successfully complete, then the RJ file is closed successfully
If the terms of the agreement are NOT met, the RJ file will be closed as unsuccessful and the file will be returned to the referral source for further action.
Who can be referred to Restorative Justice?
Youth between the ages of 12 and 17 can be referred to the Nova Scotia Restorative Justice Program.
****As of Decmber 2016, Adults may also be referred to Restorative Justice. This work is done in collaboration with Correctional Services.
How is a referral made to Restorative Justice?
We can receive referrals from 4 sources:
Once a referral is made to Restorative Justice, we will send out a letter to you within 7 days and schedule a pre-session.
- Police Officer
- Crown Attorney
- Correctional Services or Victims’ Services
What is a Restorative Pre-session for person who has caused harm?
A pre- session is an individual, confidential meeting which takes place after the caseworker receives a Restorative Justice (RJ) referral. A pre-session is an opportunity for you and your supporter(s) to meet with the caseworker and have a discussion about the referral.
During this private pre-session, your caseworker will:
- Explain the Restorative Justice process to you
- Ask you if you are willing to take responsibility for your actions and participate in a Restorative Justice session.
- Gather information from you about what happened
- Talk about who has been affected by what happened
- Help you to think about who would be important to be part of the Restorative Justice session
- Talk about accountability, responsibility and empathy
- Talk about what you think you can do to make things right
- Talk about community resources available
If you have agreed to move forward and take part in a Restorative Justice session, we will then schedule a pre-session for the victim. If you have decided not to move forward, your referral would be sent back to your referral source (see question 1.)
What is a Restorative Pre-session for the victim?
After you meet with the caseworker for one or more pre-sessions and have agreed to take responsibility for your actions, a pre-session for the victim is scheduled.
The pre-session for the victim is an opportunity for the victim(s) to have a private meeting with the caseworker to discuss the Restorative Justice referral.
During this private pre-session, the caseworker will:
- Explain the Restorative Justice referral
- discuss how victims have been affected by the incident ( emotionally, financially, physically)
- Discuss options for Restorative Justice session ( participating, identifying a victim representative to take your place, writing a letter, not taking part at all)
- Discuss expectations for the Restorative Justice process
- Discuss community resources that may be helpful for victims and families
- Discuss who would be important to take part in the RJ session
After the pre-session for the person who caused harm and the pre-session for victims are complete, what happens next?
The caseworker takes the information gathered from the pre-sessions and begins planning a Restorative Justice (RJ) session. The caseworker considers who would be helpful in the process moving forward. The RJ session is when all those identified as being affected by the incident come together face-to face for a group meeting.
Your caseworker will phone you and send you a letter confirming the date and time of the RJ session.
Who can be part of the Restorative Justice session?
During the Restorative pre-session, you may have decided who you will bring to the RJ session as a supporter. During the victim pre-session, the victim may have identified supporters they wish to have present as well. Additional people such as community representatives , who may be beneficial to the RJ session may also be invited.
All participants of an RJ sessions would be identified to you prior to the session.
What happens at the Restorative Justice session?
Everyone will have an opportunity to share their perspective (story) about what happened. This is the Face-To-Face Meeting to:
-Talk about what happened
- Identify what steps are needed to move forward
- Together , decide on agreement terms that will be signed by all RJ participants
What are some possible agreement terms that are developed in the Restorative Justice session?
Every RJ agreement will look different. This is an individualized process. Some agreements have one term listed while others have many terms that have been agreed upon by the group.
Some examples of some RJ agreement terns in the past have been:
- Restitution (paying back money)
- Anger management
- Making A Donation to an organization
- Personal Service work for Victim
- Verbal apology/ Written apology
- Referral to a local organization (Addictions Services, Mental Health, Driver Enhancement Officer, Fire Marshall, or Community Services)
- Completing a research paper
- Creative assignment (ex. Making a craft for a seniors home, volunteering for a community event, designing a school poster on bullying, or presentation to community group)
- Community Service Work
How long will I have to complete the terms in my RJ agreement?
The RJ session participants will decide on a completion date. The completion date will be listed on your RJ agreement. Your caseworker will be calling you to make sure you are completing the terms of the agreement. If you are having trouble with any part of your agreement, call your caseworker right away to discuss.