Restorative Justice Project: Think About It
Get back on track
The Dalhousie University Restorative Justice Pilot Project is a new partnership between Dalhousie, Halifax Regional Police (HRP), and the Nova Scotia Department of Justice. It aims to help Dal students who have received a summary offence ticket (SOT) or certain criminal charges, by using positive steps to address their offenses. It brings together our students, the greater community, and partners to encourage and support the acceptance of responsibility and accountability.
The Pilot Project is the first of its type in Halifax, although there are currently two other adult diversion pilot projects that are operating successfully in Nova Scotia.
What is restorative justice?
Restorative justice encourages responsibility, reparation, and healing for all stakeholders in a respectful, safe, and supportive environment. The goals of restorative justice are:
- Focus on the harms and consequent needs of the victims, as well as the communities and the offenders.
- Address the obligations that result from those harms.
- Use inclusive collaborative processes.
- Involve those with legitimate state in the situation.
- Seek to right the wrongs.
(Howard Zehr, The Little Book of Restorative Justice, 2002)
How does a student take part in the process?
A student who receives an SOT must contact the Student Dispute Resolution office within 24 hours of being ticketed, to be considered for the Restorative Justice Project.
If charged with a criminal offence, a student may be referred to the Project by the Halifax Regional Police or the Crown Attorney’s office. The student must accept full responsibility for their actions and be considered a good candidate by the referral source.
- At least 18 years of age or older
- Registered Dalhousie student
- Accept full responsibility for offence
- Recommended by the Crown or Halifax Regional Police
- Certain Level 1 and Level 2 criminal offences (at the discretion of the Crown and HRP) and Summary Liquor Act violations and Protection of Property Act violations only
- Agree to the terms of the program and agree to full participation
Please email email@example.com from your Dalhousie email account and include your B00 number and offences you have been charged with. You can expect a reply in three business days.
Note: Students can be removed from the program at any time based on the discretion of the case manager. Some examples would be: not meeting timelines, disrespecting the process and principles, or not accepting responsibility for their actions.
What is the restorative process?
After review by a case manager, a restorative plan will be started in consultation with those involved in the incident. Often the plan includes an accountability session, which could include one of the following formats:
- Circle or conferencing (session involving all stakeholders, including the offender and those harmed or affected)
- Creation of a Restorative Agreement with the case manager
- Group training/education sessions
This process will result in a restorative agreement agreed upon and signed by everyone involved. It will include timelines and actions that the participants feel will help restore the harm done, and help restore the student back into the community. The range of restorative measures can include, but are not limited to:
- community service
- restitution/financial compensation
- education programs
- no further intervention
- letters of apology
- referral for counselling/treatment assessment
What happens upon completion of the restorative agreement?
If the student successfully completes the restorative process, their ticket or offence will be removed from the judicial system.
If the student does not complete the restorative agreement or is removed from the process, then the ticket is re-issued and a court date will be set for criminal matters.
What happens if I've been affected by a student's actions?
The people identified as affected by a student's actions will be contacted directly by the case manager. At that time, a full explanation and an opportunity for questions will take place. Participation is completely voluntary, however the affected party will be invited to participate.
You are encouraged to bring a support person but if you don't wish to participate, a spokesperson may represent you at the table.
For students wishing to take part in the Restorative Justice Pilot Project: