Programs and Services

“Our goal is to have a justice process that holds offenders accountable in a more meaningful way, repairs the harm caused by the offence, reintegrates the offender, and achieves a sense of healing for the victim and the community.”

The Program hopes to help in the following four tangible ways:

  • reduce recidivism (repeated relapses into crime)
  • increase victim satisfaction
  • strengthen communities
  • increase public confidence in the criminal justice system.

The Program is currently available for youth aged 12-17 and adults.


Four Entry Points

The Program integrates referrals to restorative justice at four stages of the criminal justice process. Only certain types of offences can be referred at each stage. Youth and adults who meet the Program’s eligibility criteria can be referred at the following four entry points:

  • Police Entry Point - referral by a police officer before a charge is laid (pre-charge)
  • Crown Entry Point - referral by Crown attorney after a charge is laid (post-charge)
  • Court Entry Point - referral by a judge after a conviction and before a sentence is imposed (post-conviction/pre-sentence)
  • Corrections Entry Point - referral by staff of Correctional Services or Victim Services after a sentence has been imposed (post-sentence)

Moratorium for certain types of cases

In April of 2000, the Program imposed a moratorium on the referral of cases related to sexual assault or spousal/partner violence which a judge could potentially refer after a finding of guilt. The moratorium is in place to allow further research and consultation with representatives from women's equality seeking organizations. It continues to be in effect.

Our Community Partners

The Department of Justice has entered into service agreements with a network of eight community justice agencies and one tribal organization which offers services specifically for Aboriginal youth. The community justice agencies deliver the Restorative Justice Program and Community Service Order Program services, grounding the Program in the community and bringing the voice of the wider community into the process.

These agencies operate throughout Nova Scotia, working with youth, adults, victims, and communities from 9 separate community based locations.