Victoria Restorative Justice Society/LifeRing Canada Secular Recovery
Gillian Lindquist — Michael Walsh
Restorative justice is a community-based approach to addressing crime that focuses on repairing harm and relationships, restoring balance and reintegrating victims and offenders back into the community. This is achieved by actualizing restorative principles such as: working towards the restitution of victims, empowering them and responding to their needs as they see them; supporting offenders, while encouraging them to understand, accept and carry out their obligations; recognizing that obligations should not be intended as harms, and must be achievable; providing opportunities for dialogue between victim and offender as appropriate; finding meaningful ways to involve the community; and encouraging collaboration and reintegration rather than coercion and isolation.
What would happen if these principals and foundations were used in addressing the harms that have resulted for addiction? When in active addiction, a person can inflict devastating harm on their families and within their communities. When in recovery, how can the “offender” repair these harms in a meaningful way? Can Circles, a restorative process, be used for “making amends?” If so, what would that look like? Can the worlds of recovery and restorative justice come together to create a new avenue to repair harm in the aftermath of addiction?