Restorative Justice Services at Correctional Service Canada

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) has been advancing work in three principle areas: creating opportunities for victims, offenders, and community members; developing restorative correctional environments; and fostering criminal justice reform.

  • Victim-Offender Mediation Services
  • Support for Restorative Justice Initiatives in Correctional Environments
  • Distribution of Information and Resources
  • Support for Restorative Justice Week Activities

The RJ at CSC Factsheet provides a quick history of the development of restorative justice (RJ) services at CSC.

Restorative Opportunities (RO)

Victim-Offender Mediation Services

CSC began providing victim-offender mediation services in Pacific Canada in the early 1990's. These services became available nationally through the Restorative Opportunities Program in 2004.

The RO program offers post-sentence victim-offender mediation services across Canada. RO provides victims, offenders, and community members an opportunity to enter into a dialogue and try to address the harms caused with the help of professional mediators. The program is based on the principles of RJ that seek to address the harm caused by crime by focusing on the needs and issues of the people affected.

Victims can obtain information, describe the crime's impact to the offender and find ways to address -- where possible -- the damage caused by the offender's actions. The program emphasizes the offender taking responsibility for his or her actions, while promoting empathy for victims, reparation and prevention of future harm.

Restorative Correctional Environments

CSC explores and encourages the application of RJ in prison and community/parole operations by supporting pilot projects and initiatives that contribute to implementing RJ in the correctional environment.

Support for Restorative Justice Initiatives in Correctional Environments

CSC provides support to staff, institutional managers, and community organizations interested in developing and incorporating RJ within the prison or community correctional setting. Relevant RJ expertise and consultation processes are available to explore RJ initiatives suited to a particular institution or region that may include RJ Coalitions, RJ Living Units, RJ Awareness and Training Sessions, Pilot RJ Projects/Programs. CSC also provides information, referrals to possible funding sources, and acts as a liaison to RJ practitioners, partners and community organizations.

RJ calls upon the participation of those at operational, regional and national levels to work together in order to further develop and support RJ initiatives within CSC in order to contribute to the meaningful accountability of offenders, addressing the harms caused, victim empathy, and the safe reintegration of offenders as responsible law-abiding citizens.

Criminal Justice Reform

CSC raises awareness about RJ within Canadian communities, government departments including CSC, and contributes to policies and proposed legislation using a RJ lens. Community outreach and liaising with Canadians is recognized as an integral part of connecting with those interested in RJ.

Distribution of Information and Resources

CSC has a library of RJ books and videos and continuously reviews and shares information about new RJ resources. A short list of RJ resources is also available. CSC also liaises with a number of RJ programs and practitioners. If you would like information or advice about resources, programs and/or practices, please contact us.  

Two email groups are used for the distribution of information about RJ. The Google Alert Email Group receives daily emails with links to new online news articles, blogs and websites discussing RJ. The RJ Email Group receives information about RJ events, resources, training opportunities, policies, new developments, etc. as they become available. To join either email group, please contact us.

Support for Restorative Justice Week Activities

CSC encourages individuals and communities to recognize the third week of November as Restorative Justice Week, and to organize events and share resources wherever possible. To assist with this, CSC develops resources to help promote and raise awareness about Restorative Justice and Restorative Justice Week and supports the National Restorative Justice Symposium. In previous years, CSC formally requested that municipalities across Canada proclaim Restorative Justice Week. This year, CSC challenges you to initiate the proclamation process, using the tools available on our website, by contacting your municipality.

Coordination of the National Ron Wiebe Restorative Justice Award

This award was established in honour of the late Ron Wiebe, former CSC Warden, for his outstanding commitment and leadership in the field of RJ. The National Ron Wiebe Restorative Justice Award recognized an individual or group who modeled RJ principles in the service of justice and peace and who demonstrated, through their work or lifestyle, ways of transforming human relations by enabling and promoting communication and healing between people in conflict, be they victims, offenders, colleagues, families or neighbours.