Sagamok Anishnawbek Community Justice Program
Our Sagamok Anishnawbek community development process is about taking back responsibility for our community well-being in all aspects of life – education, health, economic development, cultural development and healing. Sagamok Anishnawbek has invested money, time and energy in the community development process to guide the building of a sustainable community that reflects the values and priorities of Sagamok Anishnawbek citizens. As a part of this work, Sagamok Anishnawbek has an opportunity to design a community-based justice program using federal and provincial government funding.
What is community based justice? It is a way to apply our Anishinaabe understanding of how to correct the behaviour of citizens who harm other people. It is also an opportunity to begin developing Anishinaabe models for conflict resolution in our community. It is an opportunity to identify what supports citizens’ need - accused persons and victims - to restore balance, harmony and a sense of responsibility and caring for each other.
This justice program is an opportunity for Sagamok Anishnawbek citizens to design a community controlled process for deciding what consequences youth and adults should face when they come into conflict with the law for many common offences (but excluding serious offences such as sexual assault, murder, or impaired driving).
The mandate of the Sagamok Anishnawbek Community Justice Program is to establish a pre-charge and post-charge diversion program for youth and adults.
Our vision is to establish a comprehensive community justice system that works collaboratively with the provincial and Canadian systems, but which provides Sagamok with the authority, capacity and means to create and operate a system that is community and culturally appropriate and that meets community justice needs.
- To increase greater Aboriginal involvement in the administration of justice;
- To engage community members in discussing and determining culturally appropriate responses to justice issues within Sagamok Anishnawbek;
- To increase community awareness of community justice issues as well as options and services that could be accessed to address these issues;
- To increase the knowledge of justice personnel within the mainstream justice system about Sagamok Anishnawbek justice issues and values;
- To deliver community based criminal justice services in collaboration with the larger justice system in order to promote community healing and safety within Sagamok;
- To enhance the quality of life for the client, victim, family and community;
- To address the over-representation of its members in the mainstream criminal justice system; and,
- To reduce recidivism (number of offenders who re-offend).
The purpose of the Sagamok Anishnawbek Diversion Program is to divert ‘eligible’ offenders from the formal court process to a community-based diversion justice committee consisting of community volunteers.
Sagamok’s Diversion Program will offer Pre-charge (before a person is charged) and Post-charge (after a person is charged) diversion to youth aged 12-17 and adults 18+ who reside in Sagamok Anishnawbek and who have been charged with a criminal offence in Sagamok. In all cases, to be eligible for diversion to a community-based program, an accused person whether an adult or a youth must acknowledge responsibility for the alleged offence, agree to enter the community-based justice process and seek legal counsel. Once an individual has been diverted, the individual will meet with the justice committee to develop a healing and wellness plan that will address amenability to victim and community as well as identify programs and services that will support healing and cultural support that help reduce the risk of re-offending. The Diversion Program is an alternative to the court system and upon compliance will result in charges being withdrawn with no criminal record.
The length of the program is determined by two factors: case by case basis; and secondly, the time given to the offender to complete conditions as administered by the Justice Committee in the Healing and Wellness Plan.
Community Justice Committee
The Justice Committee is comprised of volunteer Sagamok Anishnawbek community members who have been approved by the Sagamok Anishnawbek Chief and Council. The Justice Committee will act as an advisory to the Community Justice Coordinator and will participate in Justice Circles. The Justice Committee functions include:
- To identify the roles and responsibilities of the Justice committee members (lead facilitator);
- To be involved in defining the criteria and eligibility of potential clients for pre-charge and post-charge diversion program;
- To approve potential clients for the pre-charge and post-charge diversion program;
- Participate in justice circles on rotating basis;
- Provide recommendations in the development of a Healing and Wellness Plan;
- Support the Offender and the Victim;
- Ensure community support is available for the client by making reference to the Community Resource Guide of Programs and Services; and,
- Prior to closing file conduct exiting interview.
For more information contact:
Christopher Weatherly, Community Justice Program Coordinator
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ministry of the Attorney General - Justice on Target
Crime Reduction Canada
Anishnawbek Police Service
Funded by the Department of Justice and Ministry of Attorney General