Towards a Just Community Transforming Waterloo Region into a Restorative Region Purpose: Community Justice Initiatives (CJI) wants to inspire the Region of Waterloo to be a world-wide leader in Restorative Practices by transforming responses to conflict and wrongdoing. By embedding Restorative Practices throughout diverse sectors of the community CJI will work in partnership to offer processes that facilitate direct accountability which supports positive and lasting behavioural change leading to safe and connected communities. Responding restoratively can have significant positive impacts on the health and stability of our community, while offering more cost-effective ways of responding to conflict and harm than retributive systems based on punishment.
Who is Community Justice Initiatives? Community Justice Initiatives Waterloo Region (CJI) is a non-profit organization known worldwide for starting the first modern Restorative Justice program. During our 40+ year history, we have continuously responded to community needs by innovatively applying restorative justice principles where existing responses are not meeting people's needs. We are inspired by our 220+ community volunteers who believe in our vision to have safe, connected, peaceful communities where all conflict is resolved in a restorative way. CJI's work happens in three key program areas: • • •
MEDIATION SERVICES – Conflict Resolution Services (for workplaces, sports teams, neighbourhoods, families) REVIVE – Support for People Impacted by Sexual Trauma (including survivors and their partners, people who have offended sexually and their partners) STRIDE – Reintegration Support for New Canadians and Individuals who have experienced incarceration
What is a Restorative Region? In a Restorative Region when there has been conflict, harm or wrongdoing the first instinct is to ask: "is there an appropriate restorative response?" While there are a variety of models, all restorative practices involve holding people accountable, repairing damage, and supporting healthy relationships to cultivate a safe, healthy, & connected community.
Why are we doing this? 40 + years of working in this field has shown us that there is a better way to respond to disputes, conflict, bullying, harassment, harm and crime than more punitive approaches. Every day we witness the power of restorative responses in a breadth of difficult situations. Restorative practices provide meaningful processes that empower those involved to find solutions to issues and to complex interpersonal dynamics that underlie conflict. Restorative practices create space for individuals in conflict to understand themselves and the situation differently. It is through this deepened understanding that people can to connect to their capacity to find workable solutions. There is increasing evidence that punitive systems are ineffective and expensive, stigmatizing for individuals, families and communities while ultimately failing to contribute to behaviour change. CJI's Restorative practices are informed by a growing body of research that clearly demonstrates their effectiveness in a variety of contexts. It is time for meaningful processes of resolution that contribute to a peaceful and just community!
Where in the Region does Restorative Justice already exist? Over 44 years CJI has forged strong partnerships facilitating effective and innovative restorative responses including: â€˘ â€˘
Our Criminal Justice Courts who refer cases which are good candidates for victim offender mediation, Citiesâ€™ of Kitchener and Waterloo bylaw enforcement and Waterloo Police Services who refer disputes and high conflict situations to mediation services to prevent escalation,
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Family and Children’s Services of Waterloo Region (F&CS) who identify high conflict families at risk of losing their children and refer them to CJI’s conflict coaching, mediation and family centred planning, Youth Justice Services such as Ray of Hope, Lutherwood and Probation and Parole to support youth involved with the justice system to understand the impact of their actions on others and be supported as they work through difficult situations, The Catholic School Board accessing restorative processes to address school disputes, violence and bullying. Reception House, building caring communities for refugee youth Correctional Services of Canada and Grand Valley Institution facilitating communitybased reintegration support for Federally Sentenced Women, Waterloo Region Housing and retirement homes who access our services when conflict is disrupting the safety and inclusion of residents, The Elder Abuse Response team who seek restorative options for addressing needs of vulnerable elders whose lives are negatively impacted by abuse and neglect, Several community agencies and faith communities that refer families harmed by devastating sexual abuse to our facilitated dialogue process, restoring critical family relationships.
What is our plan? CJI will coordinate a strategy to leverage our many partnerships and long history of peacebuilding to establish a multi-sector network of community partners across Waterloo Region who are willing to implement and/or augment restorative practices as a primary response to conflict and wrongdoing. Our first priority will be to augment our work with key community partners who we have worked extensively with over the last 40 years to provide restorative responses to conflict and crime. For example:
We are renewing and expanding our partnership with the Waterloo Catholic District School Board to offer restorative processes to members of elementary and secondary school communities Building partnerships for service delivery and training with allied community agencies including the House of Friendship and Carizon Family and Community Services Participating in and supporting the Region of Waterloo's Well Being Waterloo Region Project
We will work to embed restorative practices in other sectors including workplaces, businesses, faith communities, schools, local universities and colleges, minor sports associations, public housing, seniorsâ€™ facilities, neighborhood associations and municipal services. A Restorative Region for a Just Community Waterloo Region is already identified as a community that places a high priority on collaboration, compassion and peace. It is our vision that as the Restorative Region project unfolds, our citizens will begin to develop a more restorative world view and transform our tendency toward retributive responses to wrong doing into a natural desire to see restorative solutions. The Region of Waterloo is recognized as a hub of innovation, with many respected Educational Institutions and a thriving tech sector. In the spirit of innovation CJI is uniquely positioned to lead the restorative revolution towards a truly just community.
Join the Restorative Revolution and Imagine a Just Community