Restorative Justice Pre-Charge
What Is Pre-Charge Restorative Justice
The Precharge Restorative Justice program is modelled after the Restorative Justice program.
Pre-charge referrals are received from the police, educators, parents, and community leadership. Once a diversion referral form is received, the Pre-charge Restorative Justice Worker (PCRJW) begins to plan for a Circle to take place and makes contact with the individual on the referral. In the Circle, the individual is given the opportunity to understand their behaviour, and how it affected others.
Victims, offenders and the community are involved in this process along with any supporters who wish to participate. PCRJW’s will then facilitate healing circles to work towards a resolution that provides the opportunity of making amends, healing and successful re-integration into the community while preventing further harm.
Proper follow-up and monitoring are made to ensure that the individual fulfils their undertakings pursuant to the Circle Agreement.
What Is The Goal Of Pre-Charge
The intent of the program is to assist people before they enter the court system, and prevent them from committing further acts of crime. We also want to be able to guide individuals towards a better understanding of how their negative behaviour affects others. We want to be able to assist people, especially youth, before obtaining a criminal record and to also help the court system become decluttered with misdemeanours. The goal is to get the individuals to give back to their communities, and to learn about themselves in the process. By accomplishing this program, individuals gain a new insight into the cause and effects of their behaviour. In addition, the program may help to develop new skills and interests, allowing them the opportunity to seek out new training opportunities.
Who Are the Participants
- The victim and supporters (i.e. family members, friends, etc.)
- The offender and supporters (i.e. family members, friends, etc.
- Key persons involved in helping the offender and victim, such as youth workers, social workers, teachers and counsellors
- Concerned members of the community
Participation by all parties (victim, offender, etc.) must be voluntary. A forum should be made available when an offender makes an admission and agrees to participate.
- Youth between the ages of 10-18, in partnership with MCCSS (Ministry of Child, Community, and Social Services – Youth Probation)
- Individuals who are in trouble with the law
- Individuals who want to turn your life around
- Individuals who are serious about taking responsibility for and being accountable for their actions and behaviour
- Individuals referred by Police before deciding to lay charges (Ontario Provincial Police & Nishnawbe Aski Police Services)
Types of Cases Covered
All criminal matters can be referred to pre-charge at the officer or referring agents discretion. If it has been reviewed, and all information has been provided it can be done through the program. The pre-charge program works so that individuals are deterred from the court, and given an opportunity to make it right before being charged. The types of charges that have been referred (but are not limited to these charges):
- Break and Enter
- Uttering Threats
Requirements or Outcomes for the Individual
- Volunteer work in the community, tending to Elders, getting firewood or shovelling, gathering of food, volunteering or attending community events
- Written or verbal apology
- Attending presentations
- Attendance at school
- Testimonies, sharing of stories to provide a teaching
- Making and presenting gifts to the person(s) harmed
- Attending a treatment program or another self-help program
- Mental health programming
- Cleaning up