Restorative justice wants regional district funding

The Restorative Justice Society wants to become a function of the Regional District of North Okanagan,

An alternative justice program is hoping to be embraced by regional partners.

The Restorative Justice Society wants to become a function of the Regional District of North Okanagan, which would provide annual funding.

“The focus for the society continues to be funding,” said Margaret Clark, executive director, in a report.

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.

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.

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

RDNO will consider the request to create a function for funding, but there is already some support.

“You get so much bang for your buck in terms of policing costs because you take people out of the cycle of crime,” said Juliette Cunningham, Vernon director.

Kevin Acton, Lumby director, supports restorative justice.

“We’ve experienced it in Lumby and it worked well. To allow someone to learn from their first mistake and grow is great,” he said.