“If a tree falls in a forest, with no one around to hear it, does it still make a sound?” Of course, it is obvious, that a tree falling in a forest would make a sound, but what if there is actually no one around to hear it? The impact of that occurrence cannot be relayed and that lonely tree would be one of many others to have been broken, but not heard. This quote seems to be an almost perfect analogy to what happens with crime. When a person is hurt by crime, they are broken, they fall, and many times, like the tree, no one hears them.. [...]
“Restorative Justice is a safe way to have a difficult conversation."
Justice honours the inherent worth of all and is integral to all social structures. In this context, Restorative Justice (RJ) is fundamentally about reparation, healing, accountability, and how people relate to each other. When a person or group has experienced harm or has caused harm, RJ provides a response to that harm that respects the integrity of each person and the communities from which they come. Within this broad understanding, RJ can be interpreted and practiced in a variety of ways and settings. RJ is used to address conflict in schools, workplaces, communities and families. It is also used in the criminal justice sector.
Community Justice responds to situations of crime and conflict committed by youth through the facilitation of circles; based on the principles of restorative justice.
Crime causes harm and justice should focus on repairing the harm.
The people most affected by the crime should be able to participate in its resolution.
The principle aim of the restorative justice process is to give victims a bigger role, meet their need for information about the reasons for and circumstances of the offence, allow them to be heard and to obtain tangible or symbolic compensation and regain the independence that crime and conflict may have taken away from them.
(Law Commission of Canada, 2003).
Referrals are received by the Regional and local Crown Attorney’s Office, Greater Sudbury Police Service and defence lawyers.
Mediation is an informal dispute resolution process run by a trained third party, called a mediator. Mediation provides a way for participants to talk. It gives the participants a safe forum to explain their perception of the problem, and allows the process of understanding to begin, which in turn will lead to an agreement to find a resolution to the conflict. The process is voluntary.
Mediation is used for community and neighbourhood conflicts for youth between ages 12 to 17 for now.
The circle is a dialogue process that works intentionally to create a safe space to discuss very difficult or painful issues and to find resolutions that serve every member of the circle. The process is based on an assumption of equal worth and dignity for all participants because every participant has gifts to offer in finding a good solution to the problem.
Referrals are received by the general public, Schools, Greater Sudbury Police Service, Sudbury Housing Corporation and the Legal Clinic.
“Restorative Justice is a safe way to have a difficult conversation."
- We work toward reducing and preventing crime through Community Justice Conferencing.
- Help to provide a healthy and safe community through the healing of victims, the accused and the community.
- Create interventions that are focused on repairing the harm caused by crime while holding the young person accountable for his/her actions
- An opportunity for a victim and offender to meet face-to-face with a neutral facilitator in order to find a mutually satisfying solution to the offense and its effects.
- Participants are given a chance to ask questions about the offense, to express their feelings and to negotiate an agreement for repayment of losses when these occur.
“GSHC has utilized the services of Restorative Justice’s (RJ’s) Eviction Prevention Mediation Program to assist in preserving tenancies through open, honest and professional dialogue. I have recommended this service to colleagues and they too have agreed the program to be a great tool to avoid early termination of a tenancy.”
“My experiences with Restorative Justice (RJ) have involved youth vs youth mediation, parent vs parent mediation, youth vs school mediation and youth vs community mediation. In all cases, RJ conflict mediation produced successful outcomes that helped all participants take accountability for their behaviour and contributed to a safer school and community environment.”
“I thought you might like to know that my little bad-ass questioner of authority is now at the top of his class in his fourth year of neuroscience. He has a couple of profs who want to co-author the original brain development research he’s cooked up for his thesis. Not bad for a kid some educators said was not university material and was more likely to wind up in the pen than in a profession! Thanks again for your hand in helping direct him towards a positive alternative. If you ever need someone to speak for the value of your Restorative Justice (RJ) program, and to finding alternatives to punishment and the criminalization of kids, I’m your girl!”
“I am very happy to report that our of a bad situation something very positive has surfaced. We have come to discover that the young man who damaged our church has revealed himself to be a very fine and hard working individual. I wish to thank Sudbury District Restorative Justice (SDRJ) for making it possible for me to experience the positive effects of Restorative Justice.”
“At first I thought there was no way I would have an offender come onto my property to “work off” some of the damages he had caused. But after SDRJ organized a meeting between myself, the young man and his parents I changed my mind and created a specific job for him to help maintain our vehicles throughout the summer. I wanted him to see that our business is part of the community. After he completed his pay back hours we hired him as a summer employee.”
“Ongoing vandalism was costing us thousands of dollars in damage and negatively impacting our business image. Our customers and trades were disheartened. Restorative Justice (RJ) became involved after a successful investigation by Greater Sudbury Police Service and a meeting was held with myself, one of our supervisors, the seven youth and their parents. It was agreed each youth would work fifty hours of supervised construction over the summer and be a positive ambassador of the construction industry. It is our belief that RJ is on the right track and that this program will yield positive results for individuals, families and community.”
There are many great sites on the World Wide Web. We have compiled a list of Websites that we have found to be helpful sources of information. When you click on a link, a new window will open. Close the window when you are ready to return to this page.
Canadian Restorative Justice Consortium
The Canadian Restorative Justice Consortium promotes Restorative Justice at the national level and supports Restorative Justice practitioners, programs, agencies, and networks/associations.Go
The ADR Institute provides information about mediation and arbitration and access to mediators and arbitrators in Ontario.Go
Ministry of the Attorney General
The Ministry of the Attorney General is responsible for providing a fair and accessible justice system which reflects the needs of the diverse communities it serves across government and the province.Go
Ministry of Children and Youth Services
The Ministry of Children and Youth Services envisions an Ontario where children and youth have the best opportunity to succeed and reach their full potential.Go
In March of 1997, members of the Sudbury community began meeting to look at alternative forms of justice for victims and offenders. A steering committee comprised of representation from the legal community, law enforcement, The City of Greater Sudbury, community service providers and members of the public was created. In 2004 this steering committee became Sudbury District Restorative Justice, a not for profit, registered charity.
The mission of Sudbury District Restorative Justice is to enable victims, accused and community to resolve the effects of crime and conflict.
- The Ministry of Children and Youth Service. Youth Justice Services, Northern Region.
- United Way Centraide North East Ontario/ Nord-est de l'Ontario
- Fees for service and charitable donations
Sudbury District Restorative Justice is governed by a voluntary Board of Directors. The board is comprised of justice personal and interested citizens. A current board list is available upon request.
From time to time recipients of service may disagree with the service that is provided for them. All grievances will be handled confidentially and in a timely manner in order to achieve a satisfactory resolution that is fair and equitable to all parties. Please talk with the Executive director about the agency complaints process if you have concerns.
Who do we help?
- Young persons age 12-17 at time of offense
- Young persons ready to take responsibility to repair the harm from conflict
- Court involved first time offense
- Pre charge measures
- Post charge sanctions
Who would be involved
- Willing and voluntary participants
- The young person
- Family members of young person
- Person harmed
- Family members of the person harmed
- Community members
Why RJ benefits the community?
- Shifts ownership for offending behaviour to the community
- Is a pro-active way to invite the involvement of all affected stakeholders
- Address the harms done to victims and communities by holding offenders meaningfully accountable for their offenses
- Strengthen communities and individuals to prevent future crimes