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Penetrating the Walls: Implementing a System-Wide Restorative Justice Approach in the Justice System

Clairmont, Don
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) Paper presented at the Sixth International Conference on Restorative Justice. June 2003. The Centre for Restorative Justice, Simon Fraser University. Downloaded 2 October 2003.

After several years of pre-implementation planning, and extensive discussions among non-profit agencies delivering alternative measures and leaders at all levels of the Justice system, Nova Scotia launched its ambitious RJ initiative approximately three years ago. The central objective was to have the RJ approach, operationalized in different strategic ways and phased in by offender status and by region, applicable to all offenses and all offenders throughout the province. Compared with other Canadian RJ initiatives the Nova Scotia model is unusual not only in its scope but also in its mixture of core paid staff and volunteers and its province-wide coordination. Initial research indicated that however well-funded, prepared and institutionalized, the RJ initiative would have to deal with two major “walls” limiting and marginalizing its impact on the Justice system. These “walls” were the uncertain engagement of post-charge, post-police, CJS role players, and the hesitant support and participation of victims and community leaders advocating on behalf of victims. This paper examines the processes and outcomes associated with the implementation to date, especially highlighting process issues and the successes and challenges in penetrating these “walls”. The paper draws upon an extensive and in-depth evaluation that the author has been conducting of the Nova Scotia initiative. Abstract courtesy of the Centre for Restorative Justice, Simon Fraser University,


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