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NCJ Number: 183093 Find in a Library
Title: Understanding Restorative Justice Practice Within the Aboriginal Context
Journal: Forum on Corrections Research  Volume:12  Issue:1  Dated:January 2000  Pages:32-34
Author(s): Melanie Achtenberg
Editor(s): Larry Motiuk Ph.D.
Date Published: 2000
Page Count: 3
Document: HTML|PDF
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: Restorative justice practices are becoming increasingly popular in Canada and elsewhere as the guideposts to effective corrections, both inside prisons and within the community; the philosophy of restorative justice is based on traditional practices of indigenous cultures around the world.
Abstract: Restorative justice principles are based on compassion and the view that everyone is an equal member of society and has a contribution to make to the greater good. Therefore, when a person becomes alienated or disconnected from society, it is the responsibility of everyone in society to bring the person back into a harmonious relationship with the rest of the community. Canada's Criminal Code requires a court to consider all available sanctions other than imprisonment that reasonably fit the circumstances, especially for Aboriginal offenders. The overrepresentation of Aboriginal people in Canada's correctional system is due in part to the historical relationship between Aborigines and the Canadian government. Because of this, it is necessary to change the dynamics of corrections from one of force, domination, and control to more restorative methods for implementing accountability and a correctional plan that ensures lower incarceration rates and improved community dynamics. Current sentencing trends in Canada demonstrate a willingness to create alternatives to incarceration because prisons are expensive and overcrowded. Restorative justice practices in the Aboriginal context provide sentencing alternatives that judges can use to enable offenders to take responsibility for the harm they have caused and to correct their behavior on a deeper and more meaningful level. Correctional institutions in Canada are now developing specific programs for Aboriginal offenders that encompass healing circles, counseling, and personal growth opportunities to help offenders change their lifestyle once they are on parole. Likewise, the prison culture is changing as elders and native liaison workers collaborate with other prison staff to create more peaceful solutions to prison conflicts and develop innovative options for the practice of restorative justice. 5 footnotes
Main Term(s): Corrections in foreign countries
Index Term(s): Aborigines; Alternatives to institutionalization; Canada; Community-based corrections (adult); Foreign correctional systems; Foreign criminal justice systems; Foreign inmates; Foreign offenders; Foreign sentencing; Inmate Programs; Social reintegration
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