News release

Restorative Justice Week a Time to Celebrate Nova Scotia's success

The province is celebrating 10 years of success with restorative justice programs during national restorative justice week, Nov. 13-20.

Justice Minister Ross Landry said the programs allow offenders to take responsibility for their crimes and help bring closure for victims.

"The province invests more than $2 million a year in restorative justice programs, measures that help Nova Scotia families and communities deal with the impacts of crime," said Mr. Landry. "For over a decade our youth restorative justice programs have built stronger communities, with a more than 90 per cent success rate. Now we are doing the same with adult restorative justice programming."

The Integrated Adult Restorative Justice Pilot Project is being piloted in Cape Breton and Colchester counties and has had 250 referrals since being launched in February. The program partners with local community organizations including the Island Community Justice Society, the John Howard Society and the Mi'kmaw Legal Support Network.

Dalhousie University professor Donald Clairmont, an expert in the field of restorative justice, will be evaluating both pilots.

"This is a great program. I'm in the process of interviewing offenders, victims, police and other community partners and they all say that the program is valid and has a positive impact," said Mr. Clairmont.

A key part of the program is a meeting where the victim, offender and members of the community share their experiences and concerns to help reach an agreement outlining how the offender will make reparation. The referrals are made by either the police or the Crown and may come before or after charges are laid.

One victim of minor theft in Cape Breton said that she was pleased with how personal it was and with the involvement of all who attended.

Offenders referred to the program range between 18-70 years old, with slightly more males than females. Most of the offenders have committed a minor offence like theft.

The theme of this year's restorative justice week is Re-visioning Justice, a challenge to governments and communities to consider how restorative justice approaches can be applied to existing systems like justice, healthcare and education.

For more information on restorative justice in Nova Scotia visit http://www.gov.ns.ca/just/rj/program.asp

FOR BROADCAST USE:

It's national restorative justice week and the province is celebrating 10 years of success with restorative justice programs.

Justice Minister Ross Landry says the province invests more than two million in restorative justice and that the programs help Nova Scotia families and communities deal with the impacts of crime.

The province has had a youth program for 10 years and last February, launched a pilot program for adults in Cape Breton and Colchester counties. The program has had 250 referrals and is now being evaluated.

Dalhousie University professor Donald Clairmont, an expert in the field of restorative justice, says offenders, victims, police and other community partners are saying it's having a positive impact.

For more information visit W-W-W dot gov dot N-S dot C-A slash just slash R-J slash program dot asp.

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Media Contact:

Tara Walsh
Department of Justice 902-424-6282 E-mail: