Sudbury District Restorative Justice has been serving Greater Sudbury, Espanola, Manitoulin Island and Chapleau for nearly two decades.
It offers free programs for ages 12-17 to resolve conflict and teaches conflict management skills.
The non-profit recently received funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to pivot programming as it deals with more youth referrals.
Sudbury District Restorative Justice will use the Ontario Trillium Foundation $72,000 grant to support the hiring of program facilitators in English and French.
“It’s quite interesting what they do and the amount of work they are doing to help the youth and trying to catch youth before they fall into the system,” said Myles MacLeod, who is on the Ontario Trillium Foundation grant review team.
Officials said Sudbury District Restorative Justice offers alternative avenues for providing justice and offers a number of programs to help youth resolve conflict.
“The focus of the conflict management coaching programming is to get individuals who cause harm to understand their brain and behaviour and the impact that maybe individual trauma has had on them because we know that hurt people hurt people,” said Jackie Balleny, executive director of Sudbury District Restorative Justice.
The organization also mediates in-person meetings to resolve conflict.
“Typically justice is like a penalty but I think the idea of having people who were affected by crime and the perpetrators get together and figure out what is a good solution so they both feel like justice has been served is a great idea,” said Sudbury MPP Jamie West.
In 2020, Sudbury District Restorative Justice worked with seven clients involved with the law.
That number has now grown to more than 70 with new referrals coming from schools, community partners, police and the courts.
Source: Alana Everson, CTV News Northern Ontario