Communities, victims and offenders will benefit from the province-wide expansion of the Nova Scotia Restorative Justice Program to adults.
The decision to expand the program was announced today, Nov.21, at the National Restorative Justice Symposium in Halifax.
“Restorative justice has proven to be a good option for communities, victims and offenders,” said Justice Minister Diana Whalen. “That’s why we’re expanding the program and offering it across the province.
“Restorative justice requires offenders to take responsibility for their actions and holds them accountable to the community and their victims. This helps victims and their families get the closure and support they need to heal.”
The restorative justice expansion will replace the Adult Diversion Program. Restorative justice takes a more inclusive approach that has shown better outcomes for all involved, with offenders far less likely to come into conflict with the law again.
“After our café was broken into, we were devastated,” said Meghan Peters, co-owner of the Tall and Small Café. “Through restorative justice we met the person who broke into the café, we saw their remorse and how much they wanted to make things right.
“I want people to know that something positive can come from negative actions thanks to the restorative justice program. It is such a humane, respectful, and positive part of our justice system and with the right people and situations, it can heal and provide closure. I can’t imagine any other outcomes having had the same positive impact for both of us and we still stay in touch to this day.”
The expansion stems from successful pilots that began in 2011, in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, the Municipality of East Hants and Colchester County. Restitution rates from the pilots have been very successful, with strong support from criminal justice partners and a high satisfaction rate among victims.