Response to the Alberta Summit on Justice (1998)

“The current Canadian criminal justice system claims a number of goals, but the essence of the criminal justice model, that is, retributive justice, can be summarized quite easily: crime is a violation against the state; justice focusses on establishing guilt and administering pain; and justice is pursued through an adversarial process where an offender is pitted against the state and only one side will be victorious. Many of the failures of the justice system – its punitiveness, its lack of offender accountability, its neglect of victims, to name a few – are the result of the implications of this model. A shift must take place in which we replace traditional law and order approaches to crime with concentrated efforts on crime prevention and alternatives to current sanctioning methods, using programs based on restorative justice principles.”