Restorative justice initiative gets funding

Spallumcheen council provides $1,468 to Restorative Justice Society

Spallumcheen isn’t wasting any time when it comes to an alternative justice model.

While staff recommended considering a Restorative Justice Society request during 2014 budget deliberations, council decided Monday to automatically include the $1,468 in the township’s financial plan.

“It’s important for the society to know that we are committing funding so they can plan their budget,” said Coun. Christine Fraser.

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.

“There’s been good success at rehabilitating people and it helps people who have been harmed,” said Fraser.

While he supported the funding, Coun. Ed Hanoski questioned why local communities have to provide support for a justice program.

“If it’s working so well, why aren’t the federal and provincial governments kicking in?” he said.

But Coun. Andrew Casson believes costs can be controlled more if a non-profit society and local communities are involved.

“If the RCMP come in and do it, we still pay for it and the $1,468 would just be a fraction of travel costs,” he said.

In a letter to council, Warren Smith, Restorative Justice Society — North Okanagan president, says his group is pursuing other revenue sources to offset the cost to municipalities.

“The RJS-NO, as a stand-alone society, has the opportunity to seek other funding through grants, calls for proposals, as well as charitable donors, corporate sponsors and hosting fundraising events,” he said.