Board pitches society funding

There’s the possibility that an alternative justice program could garner expanded taxpayer support

There’s the possibility that an alternative justice program could garner expanded taxpayer support.

Regional District of North Okanagan staff will bring back information to the board about possibly creating a funding mechanism for the Restorative Justice Society.

“It helps to mitigate more expensive policing costs,” said director Juliette Cunningham.

Through restorative justice, people who have committed an offence meet with the victim to talk about what happened and what can be done to correct the situation.  If possible, it is a way for the offender to remain out of jail and turn their life around.

Presently, funding comes from the City of Vernon ($44,858) and the provincial government, as well as grants from some other local communities.

“A function would provide some stability (financially),” said director Catherine Lord.

In 2014, 73 per cent of the incidents handled by the society came from Vernon, 14 per cent were from Lumby, five per cent were from Armstrong and nine per cent were from elsewhere in the region.

But while a crime may have been committed in Vernon, the person involved may be from another community.

“There are no borders as far as crime is involved,” said Lord.

“The whole thing is to prevent young people from becoming lifetime criminals.”

RDNO’s municipal and electoral area members may ultimately be asked if they want to be involved in a function, which couldn’t begin until 2017 at the earliest.