Editorial: Restorative justice a valuable resource

Volunteers who give their time to restorative justice programs may do more than meets the eye.

Volunteers accomplish a variety of tasks in our communities, but those who give their time to restorative justice programs may do more than meets the eye.

As we recognize Restorative Justice week in B.C. this week, we should take time to rethink our idea of justice.

The biblical credo of “… An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth,” is a far cry from today’s somewhat less clear definition.

Traditional theories of justice run from retribution to deterrence, rehabilitation to incarceration and each has its place in our judicial system.

We all want violent offenders off our streets and all criminals made accountable for their actions. We want a justice system that is fair to all of those involved, both offenders and victims.

Too often, a traditional approach to justice fails to change the attitude of the offender, much less give them an appreciation of the harm they’ve done. Those incarcerated may be even more dangerous upon their release and recidivism rates are high. Victims are often left feeling frustrated by the judicial process.

When we look at justice, we frequently focus on punishment. Making sure the victim feels the punishment fits the crime and the chance for reparation are often overlooked. This is where restorative justice has the greatest impact.

In cases where the practice is used, the victim plays an active role in how the perpetrator is dealt with. This allows the victim’s voice to be heard from the beginning of the process, unlike the court system, which often leaves victim impact statements to follow a conviction.

For the restorative justice system to work, however, requires offenders to admit their guilt and show remorse, victims who are willing to use the alternative to the justice system, and a supportive community for both.

We are fortunate to have volunteers run restorative justice programs in our communities. But with the court system overburdened, it’s time for government to invest in expanding these programs, both to relieve pressure on the courts and to help deliver justice over the long term.

Just Posted

Comox Valley Santa’s Workshop in need of bicycles for youngsters, gifts for teens

Santa’s Workshop, at 464 Puntledge Road (formerly the Red Cross building), is… Continue reading

Transitioning back into the world

Courtenay man had been living outdoors before starting Sally Ann program

A cuddle and a coffee: Six Island towns named among Canada’s most cozy

Sidney, Campbell River, Courtenay, Parksville, Tofino and Ucluelet crack Expedia’s top 40

New Coast Guard radar boosts marine traffic monitoring off B.C. coast

Six radar installations set up for Georgia Strait to Queen Charlotte Strait to Prince Rupert

The fair with 1,000 stories

Tibetan carpets, Ugandan bags and scarves from the Peruvian Andes were among… Continue reading

Price makes 36 saves as Habs edge Canucks 3-2

Late goal lifts Montreal past Vancouver

Mid Island Farmers Institute discusses fleece at November meeting

Are you a lover of wool and local fibre? Interested in raising… Continue reading

Comox Valley Nature invites the public to learn about nature photography

Comox Valley Nature is hosting a public lecture on photography. Join Terry… Continue reading

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

The fair with 1,000 stories

Tibetan carpets, Ugandan bags and scarves from the Peruvian Andes were among… Continue reading

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Most Read