The Department of Justice has service agreements with a network of eight non-profit community justice agencies and one tribal organization which offer services specifically for Aboriginal youth. These community justice agencies deliver the Restorative Justice Program and Community Service Order Program services, embedding the Program in the community and bringing the voice of the wider community into the process. The agencies, each with a mix of paid staff and volunteers, are funded by the office of the NSRJ Manager which also supports training, protocol development and administrative oversight.
Close linkages are also in place between the NSRJ Manager and the local agencies and their boards via standardized protocols and guidelines and a provincially-managed Restorative Justice Information System (RJIS) to which all referral and case management data are inputted and from which a variety of reports are regularly issued.
....Restorative processes can be relevant responses to any offence. Referrals to the NSRJ Program follow two principles: the referral of more serious offences must pass to higher entry point, where the level of public scrutiny and control of the Criminal Justice system is stronger; and referrals can be made at four key entry points in the Criminal Justice process: Pre Charge (Police Entry Point); Post Charge (Crown Entry Point); Post Finding of Guilt (Court Entry Point); Post Sentence (Corrections Entry Point). (The Department of Justice a moratorium has been in place since 2000 on the referral of and sexual offences and partner violence linked offences.)
The Program has had the advantage of a strong evaluation component with the assistance of well known academic and researcher Don Clairmont, Director of the Atlantic Institute of Criminology. An evaluation of the NSRJ initial success with youth showed the following: “victims who have participated in RJ Sessions are very positive; victims feel heard and attended to in the RJ Process; youth, community members involved in RJ processes feel positive about the experience; and RJ has gained acceptance as a justice strategy among CJS Stakeholders”.
Thanks to the commitment of stakeholders and our Community Justice Societies approximately 1400 – 1600 referrals a year are processed, a range of innovative programs to support the RJ interventions are offered province wide, with compliance rates in the range of 88 – 92 percent. The outcome of high participant engagement and satisfaction is a telling indicator of the success of the programs’ model.