Reconciliation through Restorative Justice

♪piano music♪ (Primary Case Manager)
Jamie is a young person who
found himself in conflict with the law
after an incident occurred between him
and a social worker. He was trying to get me
away from the door and that’s where I got
my bruises on my arms, because he kept
pushing me against the filing cabinet. When I got to the office,
I was just shaking. I didn’t realize how
much bruising there was and everything. It was at that point,
my supervisor said, “You know you’re going
to have to charge him.” (Primary Case Manager)
The crown attorney felt
that the young person would benefit from a healing
to wellness court program. In Jamie’s particular case,
he had a lot of supports, and he personally
felt that he was at risk of losing those supports if he didn’t
acknowledge the harm that was caused. Restorative justice was
felt to be the most appropriate way to
amend those relationships to offer Jamie
the opportunity to discuss how he felt,
and perhaps why he behaved
the way he did. It was the most
culturally appropriate and culturally sound
way to deal with this justice matter. (Restorative Justice Casworker)
The first time I met him, we’re talking about
a youth that had struggles in his life,
and going through so much, and he
was pretty angry. I do an assessment
with them so that I understand more about
what it is that they need, and then I make
the call on who will be a part of that circle. Restorative justice
offers the community the ability to give input, and to reshape
relationships, and provides a space to do that
where there is equality amongst all of
the participants. (Restorative Justice Caseworker)
Jamie was a little nervous, I guess, because
I think this was like being able to confront
the person that he had done harm with because it was a person
that he knew very well. (Restorative Justice Caseworker)
I am going to do the first round and the
first round, we’re just going to say our names,
what it is that we are here for, what we do
and pass the feather around. So I’ll start, my name is… (Jamie)
I was being put into a different foster home,
which I did not like. It wasn’t really my
decision, really. I either had to go
there, or that’s pretty much
my only choice. I guess my foster mom at
the time needed a break from me, and I didn’t really
like that so… I was saying stuff like what I felt and what
things I was going through and apologizing, you know,
that I’m just sorry, that it won’t happen again,
and that I’m got better. I’m the new Jamie. (Patricia)
When he apologized,
it was a welcome surprise for me to hear. Me, and his foster
mom started crying, at that point, because
she’s never heard it, too. It was really good
to hear from him. I was glad I was able
to tell him that I loved and cared about him
and that I was hoping that we would be
able to repair our relationship again,
and start working on goals for him. Not just for me, but goals
for a better future for him. (Jamie’s Support Person)
I think it’s important that we stand behind
Jamie and listen to him and continue to have
open ears to how he is feeling and what
he feels he needs to do to move forward. (Elder)
It’s healing he’s going
through right now to be an adult,
to continue, get ready for
his next step of life. (Patricia)
He liked building. He wanted to learn
how to make a drum. That was one of the
recommendations that was put in place. (Restorative Justice Caseworker)
How do you feel about what he had to
share with us today? (Patricia)
I accepted his apology. He spoke of his
difficulties in changing some of his behavior. I was able to see him
in a different light and look at him,
what he was going through because he never
told me before. It was a good
healing process. It ended up including
the foster parent, too, which is good. (Jamie)
I felt that it was
very necessary for me to be in that circle
because I knew that after everything
was said and done, that I’ve got a second
chance and then that I could keep going. [Elder sings closing
prayer and drums] When we’re able to
go around in circle, and hug each other,
or shake hands and what not,
then you know that everybody’s feeling good
leaving here and that for them to be able to
make amends like that to me that’s
already progress. To open up
that communication, to open up
that understanding, to open up that
relationship again, I think, I couldn’t
ask for anything more. [Elder sings closing
prayer and drums]

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