Restorative Justice

Toronto-based Anglicans met in November to discuss restorative justice models in the criminal justice system, especially in light of the new Canadian administration's promise to be "tough on crime." Restorative justice views crime as relational—offenders must be held accountable for the harm they have done, but this should include facing their victims directly and learning the true impact of their crimes. The diocesan working group on justice and corrections that convened the meeting encourages good pastoral care for inmates and victims, highlights the role of community volunteers, and promotes restorative justice on a legislative level.

Canada's current criminal justice system, which costs its citizens $10 billion a year, relies primarily on laws and courtroom proceedings with few alternative tracks. The justice and corrections working group hopes to create new avenues for restorative justice by maintaining good relationships with the prosecuting lawyers and judges that support the programs. "You have to get the prosecuting lawyer and the judge to be on your side," Bruce Williams, chair of the working group, told Sojourners. "When they are, they are usually pretty enthusiastic."

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