Reflections on the Past, Present, and Future of Restorative Justice in Canada
AbstractRestorative justice has been integrated into the Canadian justice system for over 30 years and it is now appropriate to acknowledge the achievements of the past, reflect on its current status, and consider where it may go in the future. Restorative justice evolved from experimentation by justice officials and community members looking for better ways to respond to crime, and there is a great deal of variation in how it is defined, understood, and practised. Provisions of the Criminal Code and the Youth Criminal Justice Act support the use of restorative justice in the criminal context. While restorative justice is being used across Canada and there are signs that it is maturing, there are also a number of challenges it faces, such as the need for ongoing funding and national data collection, and the need to define its relationship with Aboriginal justice and continue to engage victim service agencies. However, with continued leadership and support from community-based agencies, Aboriginal groups, faith organizations, governments, universities, and justice agencies, restorative justice will continue to evolve and expand in Canada.
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