Restorative justice is a method of resolving disputes that addresses the harm caused by crime or conflict and promotes meaningful resolutions. It’s often referred to as ‘alternative dispute resolution.’
It’s a voluntary process that addresses the victim’s needs and holds offenders responsible for their actions.
How it works
If you’ve been involved in a crime or conflict, restorative justice may be suggested to you as an alternative to legal proceedings.
The process allows everyone involved to meet with a restorative justice facilitator and discuss the conflict. It can give you an opportunity to deal with the harm caused by the impact of the event.
Restorative justice is available through many communities, organizations and non-profit organizations. For a list of programs, visit Alberta Restorative Justice Association.
All restorative justice programs use the following principles:
- participation is voluntary and based on free, informed, ongoing consent
- all participants are treated with respect
- the victim sought to be engaged
- offenders are:
- held accountable
- encouraged to accept responsibility
- encouraged to make amends
- participation should be meaningful and include everyone
- the physical and psychological safety of all participants is upheld
During a meeting, everyone has an opportunity to speak.
You’ll have discussions that help identify:
- the harm caused by the incident – physical, mental, emotional or spiritual
- what can be done to repair the harm
- who’s responsible for repairing the harm
All meetings are voluntary and you can back out at any time.
Meetings can be attended by:
- family members or the victim or offender
- affected members of the community
- support services
There are many benefits to restorative justice, including meaningful resolutions and healing.
Other benefits include:
- a reduced chance of offenders committing other crimes
- greater satisfaction with the process among victims and offenders compared to more formal proceedings
- active participation by communities in the resolution of crimes
To connect with the Crime Prevention and Restorative Justice Unit:
Crime Prevention and Restorative Justice Unit
Alberta Justice and Solicitor General
10th Floor South, John E. Brownlee Building
10365 97 Street NW
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 3W7