Thanks to the efforts of Laurier Brantford’s Restorative Justice class CC211, the City of Brantford will recognize Nov. 16 to Nov. 23 2014 as Restorative Justice Week.

CC211 Restorative Justice class. Photo courtesy of Thomas Rose

CC211 Restorative Justice class. Photo courtesy of Thomas Rose

According to the course’s professor Thomas Rose, “[Restorative Justice] is an alternative justice model that has found expression in various aspects of Canada’s criminal, youth and family justice system.”

With 152 Laurier Brantford students lending their names to the cause, a petition sent to city council on behalf of CC211 was recognized and incited city council to proclaim the third week of November 2014 as “Restorative Justice Week.”

“Restorative justice is important because it places the person most affected by the crime, the victim, at the center of the process.” Says CC211 student, Arianna Noctor, “I think that it is great that Brantford is recognizing restorative justice week and I hope that Brantford is successful in putting restorative justice to work within our community.”

In the request to the City of Brantford to proclaim Restorative Justice Week, Prof. Rose highlighted that Restorative Justice Week offers “a unique opportunity for Brantford to demonstrate its desire to explore non-adversarial, non-retributive, cost-efficient approach to justice that emphasizes healing in victims and accountability of offenders to create safer communities for all.”

“I think the students of CC211 deserve a shout out for keeping this tradition alive,” says Prof. Rose.

Restorative Justice Week is an annual initiative created by the department Correctional Service of Canada in 1996. The program works with community partners throughout Canadian municipalities to celebrate the unique restorative justice services being offered throughout the nation.

Correctional Services of Canada cites restorative justice as, “a safe and respectful process that allows for open dialogue between the victim, offender, and the community.” According to Correctional Services, restorative justice in Canada provides victims an opportunity to have their stories heard, while offering offenders a space to be accountable for the crimes they commit. “Restorative Justice empowers communities to gain a better understanding of the root causes of crime and allow the community to express and reduce its fears.”

In 2013, Correctional Services of Canada determined that going forward the official theme of the initiative would permanently remain “Inspiring Innovation”.  According to their website, Correctional Services of Canada hopes the theme “encourages us to celebrate and share our experience and leading edge examples, for years to come, in delivering restorative justice based services.”

According to Correctional Services, many of the participating municipalities in Canada develop independent sub-themes for the week like “addressing harms in relation to conflict, wrong-doing, bullying, and crime.” This year, the City of Brantford has opted to recognize the central theme and focus its attention to “Inspiring Innovation” through local restorative justice measures.