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Restorative Justice Needs Assessment

Restorative Justice Needs Assessment

As a research project for the Ministry of Attorney General, the Society canvassed members of the judiciary, as well as Crown and defence counsel to obtain their views and perspectives on the issue of restorative justice.

The research explored how the concept of restorative justice is currently understood, what needs can be identified regarding restorative justice implementation in the courts, and what issues and problems are raised by further movement in this direction.

The majority of survey respondents expressed strong support for restorative justice philosophy and principles. Respondents typically saw restorative justice as redefining how the criminal justice system operates. At a general level they saw movement in the direction of restorative justice as making criminal justice less "abstract" by relating it more to a community or personal level and by focusing the system more on healing relationships and restoring social harmony.

Benefits identified with moving in a restorative direction included enhancing accountability within the system, encouraging offenders to take responsibility for their actions, increased possibility for reconciliation of victims and offenders, and potentially reduced rates of recidivism over the long term.

When asked to identify needs in the area of restorative justice, respondents placed primary emphasis on funding and resourcing issues.

The survey results were compiled into a report for the Ministry of Attorney General.