Crime creates a negative vacuum that needs to be filled in. One could say that justice matches one negative with a second negative to even things out, but then what? Where does that leave everyone involved? Restorative justice takes a new look at justice and asks how offenders can be accountable in relation to harms done. If a negative set of consequences can be matched up with a positive set of reparations, the accountability can now take on a new meaning.
What is real accountability?
- understanding affects on others
- expressing apology
- making amends to others
- taking steps toward personal change
- giving back to the community
BCRJP has found that when adult offenders are supported well and treated with dignity, they are more apt to be held to higher expectations for making amends and for making improvements in their lives. This is why we try to “put a face” on crime, giving offenders an opportunity to learn, first-hand if possible, how their actions have affected victims and other people in the community. This can create a new and deeper motivation that can change their thinking patterns regarding future choices that could put them and others at risk.
BETTER TO HAVE TAX-MAKERS THAN TAX-TAKERS.
All victims of cases referred to BCRJP are invited to participate in resolution processes, though not all choose to participate since it is voluntary and only according to their preferences. But offenders who choose to go through a restorative conferencing process at their initial intake meeting can always go ‘full circle’ through our program regardless of victim participation, as we are able to include community members in the process.