In 1990, Nishnawbe-Aski Legal Services Corporation (NALSC) received direction from the Chiefs of Treaty No. 9 to create and promote alternative and community-based justice systems for its members. The Restorative Justice Program was created in 1996, and it is this mandate received from the Chiefs that NALSC delivers by providing Restorative Justice to the 49 First Nation communities in the Nishnawbe Aski Nation territory.

What is Restorative Justice, “Maa-Mii-Nah-Chi-Ke-Win”?

Restorative Justice is a unique method of achieving alternative justice. Its focus is to right the wrongs done to the community, and help the victims, offender, and their families/ friends who suffered from the crime make amends. Through motivation and understanding, Restorative Justice works towards changing the mindset of offenders into that of productive members of society.

Goal of Restorative Justice, “Maa-Mii-Nah-Chi-Ke-Win”

The goal of Restorative Justice is to help address the over-representation of Aboriginal people in the mainstream justice system. NALSC aims to achieve this goal by working with NAN First Nations in the administration of justice affecting their community and to provide a culturally based diversion process that uses the Circle process to promote healing in the community.  It also works towards helping the individuals involved heal and allow the opportunity for everyone to have a voice.

The Circle Process

What Is a Restorative Justice Circle

This process is a unique method of achieving alternative justice, and seeks to promote and repair the damage that was the result of a criminal action.

It will typically include these individuals within the circle;

  • The victim & their supporters
  • the offender & their supporters
  • key persons involved
  • facilitator

This program can only be accessed if the offender takes responsibility for their actions.

 

The Circle Process

The Circle process is about healing.  It is not intended to be adversarial. Rather, its purpose is to create an open and safe environment in which participants can:

  1. Discuss what happened;
  2. Understand the conflict; and,
  3. Talk about how to deal with what happened.

The Circle provides an opportunity for all community members to help resolve conflict, create healthy relationships, and learn positive ways of dealing with conflict.

 

Primary Goals and Objectives:
  • To give the community more empowerment over crime and its resolution by diverting specific criminal offences to Restorative Justice.
  • To acknowledge the effects of crime on victims by making offenders aware of the consequences of their actions and to make offenders accept responsibility for their actions.
  • To provide collective support for the victim.
  • To replace ineffective non-traditional and culturally unsuitable justice systems and processes with a more community based Restorative Justice alternative.
  • To enable participants with the opportunity to determine how best to repair the damage that was caused by the offender and to minimize further harm that may be caused by the offender.
  • The circle agreement comes from the participants, not from the facilitator

Benefits of Restorative Justice, "Maa-Mii-Nah-Chi-Ke-Win"

  • Focus is on harms resulting from the crime rather than the rules broken
  • Equal concern is shown to victims and offenders
  • Empowers victims and responds to their needs
  • Recognizes the offender’s obligations to repair harm
  • Supports offenders while encouraging them to understand, accept and carry out their obligations
  • Provides opportunities for dialogue – direct or indirect – between the victim and offender
  • Finds meaningful ways to involve the community, and to respond to the CAUSES of crime in the
  • community
  • The restorative justice process respects all parties

Who Can Refer

There are multiple individuals who are capable for referring an individual for Restorative Justice.

These can include:

  • Judges, Crown Attorneys
  • Community Legal Workers
  • Defense Counsel
  • Police Officers
  • Probation Officers
  • Chief and Council
  • Principals & Teachers
  • Community Resource Workers
  • Parents
  • Individuals

Referral Forms for Restorative Justice for Corresponding Charges

Breach of Probation

Pre Charge Referral

Post Charge Referral

Our Staff

Community Youth Intervention Initiative

The Community Youth Intervention Initiative works with Aboriginal youth in conflict with the law. The Community Youth Intervention Worker works closely with probation officers and operates as a linkage between youth and probation officers. The Community Youth Intervention Initiative plays an important role in the development of a local program and provides support and assistance to reintegrate youth back into the community - in a positive and meaningful way.

Learn more about this Initiative

Community Youth Justice Initiative

The intent of the program is to guide youth to a better understanding of how their behaviour affects others in the community and to make amends by giving back to the community in a meaningful way. Youth will gain a new insight into the cause and effects of their behaviour. In addition, the program may help youth to develop new skills and interests and to seek out new training opportunities.

Learn more about this Initiative