Source: (2004) A Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Social Studies: University of Regina

This study explores the practice of restorative justice in community-based agencies across Saskatchewan, focusing on agencies funded by Saskatchewan, there has been little research regarding restorative justice in the province. This study used institutional ethnography, a method developed by Canadian sociologist Dorothy Smith, to fill part of this gap. The research involved open-ended interviews with 15 justice workers and coordinators as well as five justice officials to explore the factors that influence the ability of justice workers and coordinators to work in a restorative way. The justice workers and coordinators who participated in the research represented 14 agencies from across the province. First Nations and Tribal Councils operated six of these agencies. Four were alternative measures programs operated by non-profit organizations, and two were community justice committees in rural areas. The other two were alternative measures programs in which an individual facilitator handled cases on fee-for service basis. The analysis focused on four issues. Firstly, It explored how the ruling relations affect restorative agencies in terms of government documents and practices. Secondly, it considered how the interactions between justice workers and coordinators and police and Crown prosecutor influence the work performed in restorative agencies. Thirdly, it explored how factors within restorative justice, particularly in terms of involving victims and community members. Finally, it considered the factors contributing to the stress and burnout experienced by justices workers and coordinators. One of the major findings resulting from this research is that restorative agencies are vulnerable to practices such as the fragmented way in which funding is provided from multiple departments and government’s focus on measurable outcomes. The reporting requirements that restorative agencies must fulfill in order to receive funding are particularly important in shaping their work. Other major findings include the need to balance community involvement with professional interventions. The importance of expanding restorative approaches to address non-criminal matters and community issues, and need to involve victims and victims services programs in restorative approaches.