Monday November 23, 2010
Crime & Punishment
Youth justice group granted funding from City
rime costs everyone in the community, but what you may not know is that it's costing the youth committing it too.
When the City looks at the business end they know that it takes money to make change and so in order to keep the wheels of youth justice well-oiled in Chilliwack, council approved $31,500 in funding to the Restorative Justice Society and Youth Advocacy Association at last Monday's council meeting.
When it comes to youth reparation for their crime, rather than giving the kids a slap on the wrist and pat on the behind before sending them back home and out into the community to reoffend, the Association stops them in in their tracks and works with the kids to make them not just aware of the consequences of breaking the law, but also to understand the impact and damage that it causes their victims.
The kids work through a mentoring and monetary restitution program, to come out at the other end more aware and with tools to get their lives back on track before another derailment happens.
When it comes to youths paying back individuals or the community for their crimes then a little spending equals good returns on the dollar said Chilliwack City Coun. Chuck Stam. "The Restorative Justice Society and Youth Advocacy Association works and that it's good value for the money."
Stam, who chairs the Public Safety Advisory Committee, said the Association made an in-depth presentation at their last meeting and "Subsequently, we asked them to do a presentation to the big box retailers in our community and opened it up to all retailers."
"There's an apology, a real apology and there's community service and often quite significant repayment for the vandalism or whatever that might have occurred," he said.
Funding from the program falls under the umbrella of the Community Development Initiatives Funding policy for 2011.
"The Attorney-General's office this year acknowledged the work and activities of these kind of groups in their communities in the province of British Columbia and I'm more than happy to fund the local one. We're getting good value and we continue to push this up the line to the province to ask for funding because of the value for money to the (province)."
Stam said the program has earned some nicknames like; "Hug-A-Thug", which he says are not accurate descriptions and "couldn't be further from the truth."
Since the Association began it's work in 1998, their volunteers have been "dedicated to providing motivation and personal assistance" to more than 2000 kids under 18-years back on track.
Last year, the City increased the funding from $28,000 to the current $31,500 to offset inflationary pressures that the group was experiencing with respect to wages. The City also provides space, utilities and office supplies to the group within the downtown Community Policing Society Office.
For more information visit their website at: www.restoringjustice.ca
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