Restorative justice reflections
Feb 06, 2013
The following letter was submitted to the Gulf Islands Driftwood as part of Salt Spring’s Restorative Justice program.
Restorative Justice. That name never clicked in my head when the officer brought it up. He gave me two options, one was court, and the other Restorative Justice.
Well at that time I never really knew how either one worked, but I knew court was probably the worst choice in the end. Eventually I chose the Restorative Justice. The officer didn't really know what it was either so I never really understood what I was going up against.
For those who don’t know how Restorative Justice works: The offender has a meeting with the victim, maybe his/or her family members and other people related to both. You discuss your feelings about the event that has led you here and to come to a reasonable agreement for the criminal to pay for his actions.
As I went through with the program, having a meeting with the store owner was probably the hardest thing to do. (I forgot I was meeting up with the store owner . . . I thought the guy was just another volunteer.)
The happiest moment during the meeting was when I gave the store owner this drawing, as sort of a “peace treaty.” After all the emotional anger, when I gave him that, the atmosphere in the room changed dramatically to a lighter note. It also brought more ideas to the table as to the agreement of how I was going to pay back for my crimes.