Restorative Justice Week 2014 in Nelson

Next week, November 16-23, 2014 is Restorative Justice Week in Canada. Every year Correction Services Canada’s Restorative Justice Division proclaims this time to focus on what communities across Canada are doing to divert criminal matters from the courts and deal with them locally.

Restorative Justice is a philosophy and an approach that views crime and conflict as harm done to people and relationships. It is a non-adversarial, non-retributive approach to justice that emphasizes healing in victims, accountability of offenders and the involvement of citizens in creating healthier, safer communities.

A year ago the Nelson Police Department’s Community Policing Officer-Sgt. Dino Falcone-explored ways to bring Restorative Justice to Nelson. One of Chief Wayne Holland’s priorities, upon being named head of NPD by the Nelson Police Board, is to establish a well-trained group of volunteers who could accept files from his officers for a Restorative Justice option. Over the past year a volunteer assumed the role as coordinator of this initiative.

Offenders who take responsibility for their actions meet with those who have been directly affected by a criminal act. Each of them with their supporters comes together in a conference. They hear from each other what happened, how the crime has affected each person and together explore ways to repair the harm that has been done. After deliberation with all in the circle, an agreement is reached. The Responsible Person, with the support of a volunteer mentor, works toward fulfilling obligations agreed upon to successfully complete the resolution contract. The Affected Person has had the opportunity to meet the perpetrator of the crime and state what is needed to repair the harm. The Responsible Person has the opportunity to address an initial bad decision or choice and be reintegrated within our community. Where the Criminal Justice system promotes a “win-lose” outcome with charges, pleas and court, the Restorative Justice model promotes “win-win” outcomes as all those involved decide how to repair the harm.

Presently seventeen applicants were accepted for training to become Restorative Justice facilitators and mentors. They have embarked on an intensive training schedule this fall. This group represents many segments of our society with ages ranging from twenty-somethings to seniors, with backgrounds in education, technology, trades and business who bring a passion and commitment to learning and refining appropriate skills.

During Restorative Justice Week this fledgling group will be appearing as a delegation before City Council on Monday to make a presentation on their progress and plans for future development. Also next Friday local volunteers will be staffing an information table at Chahko Mika Mall from 4:30 to 7:30pm where the public can learn more about this initiative.and what it means for our Nelson community.

The NPD Restorative Justice program will receive its files and referrals internally. The theme of Restorative Justice Week 2014 is “Inspiring Innovation”. There are significant challenges ahead as this program develops. However the volunteers’ commitment to do the work with restorative principles always at the forefront will assure the long term success and stability of this new program dedicated to serve as a viable and sound alternative to the Criminal Justice system. .

For further information contact:
Gerry Sobie
Program Coordinator
Nelson Police Department Restorative Justice Program
606 Stanley Street
Nelson, B.C. V1L 1N4
Phone: 250.354.3919 Fax: 250.354-4179
Cell: 250.777.3979
rj@nelsonpolice.ca

Media Release: December 7th, 2013

On Saturday December 7 at 1:30 AM an NPD member was waved down by an intoxicated female requesting assistance in getting home. Due to the extreme weather conditions and her not being dressed appropriately for it the member allowed her to warm up in the vehicle while he finished with another matter. The female decided to leave the area on her own before she could be offered any further assistance. A short time later staff at a nearby bar reported her to NPD as they were also concerned for her well being. In learning the name of the 24 year old it was found she was bound by an order from previous charges to abstain from drinking alcohol. She was transported to cells and released when sober and able to arrange a ride home. She will appear in Nelson Law Courts in the New Year to answer to charges of breaching release conditions. NPD file 2013-5740 refers.

On Saturday December 7 at 12:45 PM staff at one retailer in the Chahko Mika mall attempted to detain a suspect in a possible shoplifting after she set off the store security alarm. She refused to cooperate and the driver of the car she entered drove off with her. A license plate was obtained and provided to the Nelson Police Department. The registered owner in known to police and the investigation is ongoing. NPD file 2013-5746 refers.

There were a number of accidents related to weather over the last few days. In periods of inclement weather, the Nelson Police would like to remind the motoring public to adjust their driving habits. When roads are slippery, slow down. Drivers should also leave additional space between their vehicle and the vehicle in front. Driver should always be courteous on the road particularly when they’re in a traffic jam. If a lane is closed and people are signaling to get over, please let them in where possible. Even when roadways are congested, traffic will flow much more smoothly if drivers cooperate and look out for one another.