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Assiniboine and SCO partner to deliver Restorative Justice program in 2020


January 10, 2020
By Staff

The Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) has partnered with Assiniboine Community College to deliver a Restorative Justice program to 30 students from SCO-member communities across Southern Manitoba.

Restorative Justice is an approach which has roots in traditional Indigenous culture and forms of justice, the college notes. It focuses on repairing the harm caused by crime, within the context of relationships and communities. It also seeks to restore balance and harmony to all involved.

“As part of our First Nation Justice Strategy, we have created a unique educational opportunity for members of our communities. The Restorative Justice Certificate program at Assiniboine Community College will be an opportunity for our community members to receive a holistic education through an exclusively Anishinaabe and Dakota lens,” said SCO Grand Chief Jerry Daniels.

The SCO, which represents 34 First Nations in Manitoba, is “steadfast in their commitment to reclaim Indigenous practices of justice” for their clients and aims to reduce the number of community members in contact with the criminal justice system.

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“We are honoured to be partnering with the SCO on this important program to help advance their vision for restorative justice in First Nations,” said Assiniboine President Mark Frison.

The Restorative Justice Certificate program is designed for individuals who are already working within the justice system or who are interested in pursuing a career in justice. The program will be delivered in a central delivery site for SCO-member communities, based on where there is the most enrolment, and was set to start this month, in January 2020.

In addition to classroom studies and a cultural camp, students will undergo a field placement through SCO in a community justice program within an Indigenous community. Students will benefit from a flexible part-time delivery method over their two years of study, with classes being delivered one week each month, followed by the three-week practicum.

Graduates will leave with the skills and knowledge to support the delivery of a restorative justice program within their communities.

For more than a decade, Assiniboine Community College has partnered with the Brandon Police Service to train recruits, and the Police Studies program is recognized by law enforcement agencies across Manitoba and beyond, it says. In 2016, the college entered into an agreement with the Manitoba Department of Justice to train First Nations Safety Officers. More than 200 officers have completed the program since its inception.