Future Hope is a local charity that helps men reintegrate back into society after being incarcerated and this week they're focusing on what restorative justice means to them.
"Restorative Justice Week has been celebrated across Canada since 1996," says Pauline Hince, Capacity Building Manager at Future Hope. "The thing about restorative justice is that there's no universal definition. It really is defined differently by different people depending on where you're at."
Quixote House is a community living space in Winnipeg where men have their own room but live together while doing chores and taking care of the house. Their second home, Massie House, is more affordable for independent living.
"Restorative justice is an alternative way of addressing wrongdoing. So wrongdoing is seen through this lens of restorative justice as being a damaged relationship. A wound really in the community. It's kind of like a tear in the web of relationships."
Hince shares the rise of crime, addiction, and poverty has been top of mind for many Winnipeggers recently, including herself. She says that rather than feeling hopeless about the situation, restorative justice plays a part in helping these issues.
"Working with Future Hope has really opened my eyes and my own family's eyes to the many factors that lead to crime. We know as a society that the core drivers of violence are shame, isolation, and the inability to meet someone's economic needs and exposure to violence. Incarceration itself exposes the offenders to those very drivers. Lots of shame, isolation, and the inability to meet one's economic needs."
The charity believes there is a better way to help those caught in the justice system and hopes to help break the cycle of violence and shame. They believe restorative justice is a movement.
"What we do at future hope is the circle of support and accountability. We provide right from the start, fellows in prison support in preparing for their own release into the community, and then once they're released, we provide them with very practical support and then network."
Part of the work done at Future Hope is to walk a healing journey with the men.
"To restore oneself, it requires you to heal. You have to come to terms with the fact that the guys that we work with, that they're not their crime. They deserve a second chance. So that's why we're called Future Hope, to give them a sense of acceptance, to accompany them, to support them. They need to rebuild their lives so the first real thing is to provide them with a safe environment in which we can start that dialogue."
Other aspects include victim/offender dialogue, circles of support and accountability, and victim outreach truth and reconciliation commissions.
For more information on the work done at Future Hope, check out their website.