In a paper prepared by the Chilliwack Restorative Justice Society and based on the example of a adolescent first-time offender and cost-benefit data from 2001:
Financial Estimate of a Formal Court Process: $2649.50/file (2001) This is a first-time offender, Category 3 or 4 offence.
This would represent a cost of $3, 579.01 in 2017 according to the Inflation Index – Bank of Canada For the 12 month period of 2017, CDRJS successfully completed 46 of the 54 files it received. Using the 2017 adjusted figure of $3,579.01 for a first-time offender, as reported by Chilliwack Restorative Justice Society, the files for 2017 represent a estimated l savings of $164, 634.46 to the community if those same file had proceeded through a formal court process.
In a restorative justice approach, the victim is involved in the outcome. The victim explains to the offender how the actions of the offender have had an impact on the victim and have that harm addressed. The offender has the opportunity to learn how their actions have had an impact beyond the simple applications of punishment for transgression. They have the opportunity to sit in a circle with those who have been harmed and learn about the human impact of their transgression.
Recidivism is a statistical measurement of an offender’s involvement in similar offenses following involvement in a formal court process or a court diversion program such as Restorative Justice. Offenders going through a restorative justice process have a lower rate of recidivism - do not re-offend as frequently as those who go through a formal court process. It is important to note that restorative justice is an option for those who accept responsibility for their transgressions. The formal court is still necessary for high impact crime and for those in which determining guilt is necessary.
The negative impact that having a criminal offense has on future employment and travel is significant. An offender who accepts responsibility for their transgression and actively pursues reconciliation through a court diversion such as restorative justice, may receive a police record with a determined purge date period. The "Purge Date" is in reference to when a file is formally destroyed.
The exact purge date is determined by the RCMP and may take into consideration additional offenses, but a police file does not have the same negative impact on the future positive aspirations of the offender that would be the case of a criminal record.
Cranbrook and District Restorative Justice Society is a Not-for-Profit organization which relies on grants and donations in order to support the our valuable contribution to the district. Your donations will enable CDRJS to train facilitators, offer public education and awareness, operate the office and support the community by providing restorative justice as an alternative to traditional court processes.