by Morinville News Staff

The Government of Alberta says it is supporting initiatives in communities across the province with $360,000 in grants.

Sixteen organizations across Alberta have received grants to support voluntary restorative justice programs. Restorative justice focuses on the rehabilitation of offenders through reconciliation with victims and the community. The programs can be initiated at any time during the criminal justice process and are an alternative or supplement to any sentence.

“These provincial grants enable organizations to help give victims a voice, while allowing offenders to repair the harm caused by their actions,” Kathleen Ganley, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General said. “Restorative justice is an innovative approach to ensure both victims and the community are a part of the resolution of conflict.”

One of the recipients this year, the Alberta Hate Crimes Committee, has received a $20,000 grant. The money will be used to fund training for committee members to strengthen their knowledge of restorative justice practices. The committee will also build a practical application tool and process that can be used to respond to hate incidents at a local level.

Renee Vaugeois of the Alberta Hate Crimes Committee said the funding would allow the committee to build on the relationship between community and law enforcement, while also strengthening a collective response to hate. “We feel this work is fundamental and will contribute to building safe and inclusive communities,” she said.

The funding is available each year through the Alberta Community Restorative Justice program. Receipents must be incorporated non-profit and/or volunteer organizations, coalitions, local community groups, Indigenous organizations or youth justice committees sanctioned by the Government of Alberta. Grants are awarded to a maximum of $50,000 per initiative per year over a period of up to two years.

This year’s recipients are:

Alberta Hate Crimes Committee – to help fund a training session enabling communities to respond to incidents of hate

Alberta Restorative Justice Association – to assist the association in providing resources and support to restorative justice agencies and practitioners across Alberta

The Calgary John Howard Society – to support their Victim Offender Dialogue and Crime Impact Session initiatives

Elizabeth Metis Settlement Association – to build capacity for a restorative justice program in the Lakeland area

Fairview and Area Well Community Action Association – to deliver restorative justice services to the Fairview community

Frog Lake/Fishing Lake Youth Justice – to formalize a restorative justice committee to work with probations, the Crown, police and the community

Innisfail Restorative Justice Society – to train facilitators to meet the demand for restorative justice services in the Innisfail community

John Howard Society of Red Deer – to engage the Crown to consider restorative justice as a tool for offenders with complex needs, and to offer restorative justice training within the school system, with a focus on First Nations students

Lesser Slave Lake Indian Region Council – to provide training for new committee members to help them promote and enhance restorative justice services for their First Nations members in five communities

Medicine Hat John Howard Society – to continue their work providing meaningful resolutions between victims, offenders and the
community

Mennonite Central Committee Alberta – for its Restorative Action for Transformation (RAFT) program, to bring restorative justice services to offending youth and victims referred to them as a pre-sentencing intervention from Calgary Youth Court

Peace River Region Restorative Justice Association – to develop a formal referral process with the local RCMP and corrections and train volunteer facilitators

Three Hills and Area Restorative Justice Society – to develop educational and promotional material and promote victim participation in the restorative justice process

Victim Services Society of Stony Plain, Spruce Grove & District – to build on the work of the existing Enoch Elder Restorative Justice Committee and help youth resolve their conflicts with community elders acting as mentors

Volunteer Programs Association – Fort Saskatchewan – to offer interventions with perpetrators of domestic violence and expand their work dealing with school conflict to elementary schools

Youth Canada Association (YouCan!) – to place a full-time “Relentless

Youth Worker” in Edmonton’s Harry Ainley High School as part of facilitating peacemaking circles and building a culture of engagement and accountability

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