Spend day learning about restorative justice

A local group is holding a free workshop this Saturday to educate residents on an alternative form of justice that focuses on community healing.

A local group is holding a free workshop this Saturday to educate residents on an alternative form of justice that focuses on community healing.

The Greater Trail Community Justice Program Society is inviting all members of the public to join Kay Medland as she offers her expertise in a full-day training seminar.

Restorative justice targets mostly young offenders but rather than imposing punitive measures such as jail sentences, the process engages both the offender and victims as well as the community in a process of healing outside the official court system.

“Most of its principles deal with reintegration and accountability and assimilating the young offender back into society,” restorative justice board member Abby Oosthuyzen said.

Medland has a wealth of experience as a restorative justice facilitator and is the only trainer in the West Kootenay.

She will cover a number of topics including the origins and history of restorative justice, its philosophy, the formal justice system versus restorative justice, compliance, reintegration and reparation.

“Restorative justice provides people who have been victimized with an opportunity to talk about how they’ve been affected and provide an opportunity, to have a say in what needs to happen to repair the harm.”

Offenders must agree to a number of criteria before the RCMP refer a case to the restorative justice process. In addition, those victimized must also participate.

The process provides an opportunity for offenders to accept responsibility for their action and to understand the impact of their behaviour on others and to make amends, said Medland.

The event aims to strengthen and establish relationships in the community and “should be fun and interactive but very educational,” said Oosthyuzen.

The free workshop runs Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Muriel Griffith Room at the Greater Trail Community Centre; call 368-2190 to register.