Mark Provencal, Community Policing Coordinator with Restorative Justice and Community Partnerships, recognized Restorative Justice Week with a noon-hour presentation at the Oliver Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library.
The group of 15 in attendance was captivated by the message, interested in the benefits of the program, and asked a lot of questions of Provencal.
The week is recognized in Canada and throughout the World to give residents an understanding of the role of community accountability programs that offer an alternative to the traditional justice system for individuals involved with minor incidents in the community.
Those in attendance were shown a screening of “Planting the Seeds”, a film produced by the BC RCMP on the Community Justice Forum.
“It was great to see so many residents from the Oliver community, and it speaks volumes to just how much this community cares and wants to see those different avenues for a resolution, and really wants to educate itself and find those opportunities for connection for restorative practices,” stated Provencal after the presentation.
As those in attendance witnessed in the video, everyone – including the offenders and their parents, victims, RCMP, school administration, and facilitator – meet in a round-table discussion to talk about what took place, why the event took place, and what needs to be done to rectify the situation.
In the screening, there was a successful resolution, including repayment, community service and a letter of apology. As the offenders quickly found out, facing the people you have harmed is not easy.
“The biggest thing we are looking at is just having that awareness first and foremost so people are talking about the program. When we start a conversation on the street, if the topic of restorative justice comes up, then people can either educate themselves in conversation, or they’ll have an idea because they went to this presentation,” explained Provencal. “And really, that’s what we are always building for – the capacity of the program. When those opportunities for files for referrals come up, we do have those citizens that are informed of Restorative Justice, and can run with the process and help out in the community.”
For further information, get in touch with Provencal at: 250.490.2372, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org