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Penetrating the Walls: Implementing A System-Wide Restorative Justice Approach In the Justice System.

Clairmont, Don
June 4, 2015

Source: (2005) In Elizabeth Elliott and Robert M. Gordon, eds., New Directions in Restorative Justice: Issues, Practice, Evaluation. Cullompton, UK: Willan Publishing. Pp. 245-265.

The effort was launched in November 1999 after several years of planning that involved discussion among nonprofit agencies who deliver alternative corrections programs and leaders at all levels of the justice system. The central objective was to have restorative justice processes implemented in various ways, phased in by offender status and region, and applicable to all offenses and all offenders throughout the Province. This plan is unusual not only in its scope but also in its use of both core paid staff and volunteers, as well as its Province-wide coordination. Initial research on the progress of this project showed that two major obstacles (“walls”) persistently limited and marginalized the impact of restorative justice principles and procedures on the justice system. One “wall” was the uncertainty of commitment and enlightened participation by criminal justice role-players. The second “wall” was the hesitant support and participation of crime victims and community leaders. The author, who has been conducting an in-depth evaluation of the Nova Scotia initiative, notes that over time the presence, persistence, and benefits of restorative justice have begun to permeate the thinking and operations of criminal justice professionals. Restorative justice has gradually emerged as a significant factor in strategic planning by police, crown prosecutors, correctional staff, and victim services officials. Information, training, and evaluation findings have been persuasive factors in convincing role players of the value of changing their operations to conform to a paradigm that promises more effective outcomes than traditional criminal justice processing. Abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service,


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