Alternative Measures (Diversions to Community Justice Committee) Restorative Justice
What are Alternative Measures? • Alternative Measures are a diversion from the court system. Being diverted to alternative measures means that the accused will not have to go to court and will not have a criminal record and conviction for that offence.
What are the benefits? • Less involvement in the Justice System • No Criminal Record (for first time offenders) • Holds person responsible/accountable • Protects society by deterring future acts • Empowers the community by being involved in their own Justice
Why should we send people to court for minor or first time offences when they can be handled in a more appropriate manner? (ie. through the Justice Committee.) A Criminal Record can limit a young persons EMPLOYMENT opportunities. Court vs. Diversion to CJC
What offences can be referred to Alternative Measures? • Theft • Mischief (Property damage) • Break and Entering (Commercial or business) • Alcohol and drug offences (except bootlegging/trafficking) • Vandalism (defacing property) • Assaults (Minor – not family violence)
Who can be referred to this process? • Once the police are satisfied that an offence happened, they know who is responsible and they have enough evidence to lay a charge, they can refer a youth or adult to the Justice Committee or Community Justice Forum.
Police have 4 options when dealing with a matter • Give the accused a warning and take no further action • Refer the accused to a community agency for counseling/assistance • Refer the matter to the Justice Committee to deal with out of court • Lay a charge and have matter go to court
In making a decision, the police look at factors such as: • The seriousness of the offence (injuries/loss of property) • Previous involvement in justice system (size of criminal record) • The feelings of the victim(s) (consent not required) • The offenders’ attitude about the offence • Do they take responsibility/admit guilt? • Is the offender willing to take part in this process? (Offender has a right to go to court if they wish)
What rights does the offender have? • The offender has the right to speak with a lawyer before giving a statement or answering questions about an investigation. • The lawyer will explain the consequences of agreeing to alternative measures, this advice is provided free of charge through legal aid.
Who is involved in the process? • The Police or Crown can make referrals to a Justice Committee • Justice Committee Members hear case • Accused relates why they committed offence • Victim(s) relates how they were affected (voluntary attendance but recommended) • Support persons for both victim and accused (optional but recommended)
If the Justice Committee decides to accept case • They meet with accused to discuss possible outcomes/consequences of diversion • They arrange for a hearing date and invite all involved persons • They come up with resolution agreement and monitor until completed • They notify police when resolution is completed/not completed
If Justice Committee decides not to accept case • They notify police and return matter. The police then have the option to either send matter to court or handle in another manner.
Possible outcomes of hearing • Community Service Work • Restitution • Counseling (drug/alcohol/anger management) • Apology • Curfew • No contact/stay away from certain places • Attend school/information or educational sessions
How long will the agreement last? • The resolutions through the Justice Committee must be completed in less than 6 months. Once the accused has completed their agreement, they are done.
If the accused does not comply with agreement… • Attempts will be made by Justice Committee to have accused comply with agreement • If agreement not completed or accused displays poor attitude in complying, the matter can be referred back to police for processing through court system • Matter has to be dealt with within 6 months by Justice Committee
Reporting • Police fill out a referral form (NWT900) for youth cases and Adult Diversion form for adults – give to Justice Committee • Justice Committee completes Client Record form and sends to Community Justice Office in Yellowknife when matter is concluded