Restorative justice bid endorsed

Armstrong council is fully on board to support operational funding for restorative justice programs.

Armstrong council is  fully on board to support operational funding for restorative justice programs.

The City of Vernon has recently adopted a resolution which will be presented to the Union of B.C. Municipalities and has asked Armstrong council to follow suit.

“I think its a great move. I’ve attended a few of the annual meetings for restorative justice and they do a fantastic job,” said Mayor Chris Pieper.

The resolution asks the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General to provide an equal amount of funding to restorative justice services and programs that are provided to Victim Assistance Programs in B.C.

Currently, victims assistance programs are provided with approximately $11 million and restorative justice programs receive $150,000.

The motion was made by Coun. Shirley Fowler and seconded by Coun. Linda Werner. The vote was unanimous.

“It would be really nice to have a fixed-funding formula,” said Pieper.

“The money they save in court costs and police costs is huge.”

Councillor Paul Britton was also on board with providing support.

“They put in hundreds of hours, it’s amazing,” he said.

The Regional District of North Okanagan  has been working with Armstrong and other communities in order to determine if funding can be provided for Restorative Justice Society-North Okanagan.

According to Pieper, the City of Armstrong can provide RJSNO with a grant of around $1,000 to $2,000.

“It’s what we want to give them,” he said.

Executive director of RJSNO Margaret Clarke is the only paid position with 15 volunteers and seven volunteer board members.

“Potentially, it could cost cities money,” she said, but as of now the RJSNO is looking for support on the resolution passed by the City of Vernon.

“We want opened up conversation.”

The NORJS got its start in Armstrong, in 1998 and has served 700 victims and over 300 offenders in the past 10 years.