Source: (2005) In Elizabeth Elliott and Robert M. Gordon, eds., New Directions in Restorative Justice: Issues, Practice, Evaluation. Cullompton, UK: Willan Publishing. Pp. 89-114.
Research on the overrepresentation of Aboriginal people in Canada’s justice system has attributed it to the features of colonization, which have included imposing the colonizer’s dispute-resolution and criminal justice structures and procedures on Aboriginal people while ignoring the legitimacy of the social control mechanisms used by Aboriginal communities prior to colonization. Advocates of restorative justice principles have recognized that they have many of the same characteristics of Aboriginal measures for dealing with those whose behavior harms individuals and communities; notably, the use of informal forums to develop plans for repairing harms caused by such behavior and to restore the offender to the community through actions designed to prevent future offending. The chapter argues, however, that the restorative justice features developed by the dominant criminal justice system should not be imposed on Aboriginal offenders. Rather, Aboriginal agencies and organizations must be entrusted with the responsibility of developing and implementing their own versions of restorative justice, which will be used in the processing of Aboriginal offenders. Governments and all justice providers must recognize and affirm that Aboriginal justice programs must be developed and controlled by Aboriginal organizations and communities; and such programs should be recognized as distinct from restorative justice programs developed by non-Aboriginal criminal justice agencies. Abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, www.ncjrs.gov.
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