Government launches restorative justice program

A new restorative justice program will help people through the healing process after they have been impacted by a crime in Prince Edward Island.

Restorative justice is an approach to justice that focuses on addressing the harms caused by crime while holding the offender accountable for their actions. It gives victims and community affected by the crime, the opportunity to engage safely in dialogue to share their experiences and identify what needs to be done in order to repair the harms after the crime has been committed.

“The principles of restorative justice can play a critical role in increasing justice options for Islanders. One of the benefits of this approach is it invites victims, offenders and the community to explore the root causes of the crime. Through this process, victims of crime and the communities affected by the offender’s actions may be able to find answers that ultimately lead to better resolutions, and it may also help the offender  better understand the rippling impacts of their actions while they are involved in the criminal justice system.”

- Justice and Public Safety Minister and Attorney General Bloyce Thompson. 

Referrals to the program can be made by Victim Services, Probation Services, Prince Edward Island Courts, Crown Attorney’s Office, defense counsel or law enforcement on behalf of either the victims or offenders. Trained community restorative justice facilitators across the Island will bring together eligible participants to engage in this program.

“People and their connection to each other are at the heart of restorative justice. It focuses first and foremost on the harms caused and who has been affected. We use principles based on flexibility, victim-centeredness and inclusion to help repair the harm to the greatest extent possible – for both victims and offenders,” said Bethany Knox, provincial restorative justice coordinator. “It has been such a privilege to be part of the development of this program that will offer Islanders affected by crime a chance to voice their experience and needs so that they can feel in control and find resolution on their own terms.” 

Over the last two years, representatives from the Community and Correctional Services, Courts of Prince Edward Island, the Crown Attorney’s Office, Island law enforcement partners, Legal Aid, Mi’kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island, and Victim Services have worked closely together to provide the Province with recommendations on the design and development of a suitable restorative justice program for Prince Edward Island.

“The launch of this program is a testament to the Province’s commitment to working together with partners across the justice system and community to support Prince Edward Island’s vulnerable and marginalized populations,” added Thompson. “I hope that as the restorative justice program becomes an integral part of the broader justice system, we will see a downward trend in crime.” 

To learn more, visit: Restorative Justice.

Media contact:
Vicki Tse
Department of Justice and Public Safety

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