The Red Deer County Police Advisory Committee (PAC), in partnership with the Blackfalds RCMP, has formed a Restorative Justice (RJ) Program. This program will provide youth offenders from the Blackfalds detachment area with an opportunity to avoid entering the criminal justice system by accepting responsibility for actions and repairing harm caused by those actions.
The RJ program is currently available within the Blackfalds RCMP detachment area which includes rural communities in both Red Deer County and Lacombe County. The first set of referrals will begin in the Town of Blackfalds.
Participation in the RJ program is completely voluntary. The youth involved in the event are accompanied by their parents/guardians in meetings and any party may choose to not participate at any time. The process engages trained volunteer facilitators in supporting individuals who were harmed by the offence to share the impact on them, their family and community with the individual responsible for causing the harm. All parties identify actions and meaningful consequences that would repair that damage done. A contract outlining a time frame for the completion of the agreed upon actions is signed. Successful completion of the contract results in the avoidance of the incident progressing to the justice system.
The Rural Red Deer Restorative Justice program functions in partnership with the Blackfalds RCMP Detachment and is supported by a Community Advisory Council. The Council provides oversight, direction and guidance to the program so that this community-based response to crime provides a safe, accessible, appropriate and effective option for young offenders, those they have harmed and their communities At this time, access to the Restorative Justice program is through the Blackfalds RCMP School Resource Officer Constable Jeffery Hewitt. Any individual who has experienced harm by the actions of a youth, any youth who accepts responsibility for harms that may have resulted from their actions, as well as their parents, school teachers or counsellors may connect with Constable Hewitt to determine if a referral to the program is appropriate.
If you are interested in learning more about the Rural Red Deer Restorative Justice program, contact Debbie Leitch, Program Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.