Assiniboine and SCO partner to deliver Restorative Justice program

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. 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.

SCO Grand Chief Jerry Daniels states, “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."

The overall purpose of this program is to build capacity of our community members in administering forms of justice rooted in Anishinaabe and Dakota worldviews.

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

“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.

We have seen terrific success with community-based justice programs in the past, and I look forward to the achievements of these graduates and the positive impact they will make in their communities.

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 will commence 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.

Assiniboine Community College is a leader in public safety education across the Prairies. For more than a decade, the 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. 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.