Under the Makivik Justice Program, 10 local justice committees are in place and offer direct services to the population at various stages of the justice and correctional system in collaboration and with the support from the regional office composed of the Nunavik Justice Officer, the Nunavik Justice Assistant, Nunavik Liaison Agent, and the Nunavik Justice Development Agent.
JUSTICE PROGRAM OBJECTIVES
- Helping administer justice using culturally adapted approaches, which put emphasis on healing individuals, families and the community and dealing with the underlying causes of crimes. (for youth and adults)
- Responding to crimes and conflicts in a way that recognizes the Inuit culture, values, ways and knowledge;
- Empowering the Inuit that have been affected by a crime or conflict (victims, families, offenders, community) in offering help and solutions which build their resilience, increase their sense of dignity and consider the safety of the community.
The 10 justice committees of Nunavik offer direct services to the population in need of support due to a conflict or crime. They act at various stages of the justice and correctional systems in pre and post charge matters.
Each community justice committee also has members ranging from 5-8 people in size. These members work under the direction of the local coordinator and offer services to offenders referred to the program. These members are only employed on a contract basis. The justice coordinators along with the justice committee members, who are rooted to the community and the culture, offer teachings to people at risk or already facing the justice system, provide non-formal counselling and guidance, give them tools, give ongoing support, and connect people with their culture and their land.
The Justice committees are particular in the sense that they are the only justice interveners in Nunavik that work with all parties of a criminal situation or conflict: victims, offenders and families. They work with people at various levels along the justice continuum and are a strong key player in crime prevention as well.
One of the objectives of Justice committees is to address the underlying causes of crimes and guide offenders toward healing and recovery while using global, rehabilitative and traditional approaches. The justice committees also promote accountability and reparation of harm caused to the victim and-or the community. When going through the justice system, rarely the causes of their crime are addressed by justice officials and sentences are rarely crafted to help those individuals to rehabilitate and heal, unless an intervention of socio-judicial resources is made, such as the one done by the justice committees in the past years and other local services.
Justice committees think that offenders need to understand their own behaviour, identify the sources of their action, deal with their pain and sufferings, gain new healthy coping mechanisms, live experience of positive attachment and bonding, regain trust in others and in themselves and feel proud of who they are. They also need to be supported throughout this process to be able to bounce back when obstacles come their way and in order to reduce their risk of reoffending. If the underlying causes are left not addressed, offenders will just be going through the revolving doors of the justice system and communities will suffer from it.
Justice committees are recognized by the court and by their respective communities as an important actor in the socio-judicial field.
CURRENT DETENTION PROGRAMS
The Justice Program is currently offering “Qullik Healthy Relationship” program within both St. Jerome and Leclerc detentions. Qulik is a program which is facilitated by Inuit which offers a 10 session program that helps with the way people deal with their relationships. This has been a very productive and highly attended program which continues on a regular basis.
In addition to the above-mentioned program, the Development Agent is also facilitating regular sewing and arts/crafts workshops with Leclerc Detention.
At the federal level, our program officer is working with Section 84 referrals from the ACDO on a regular basis. Makivik Justice Program is currently working on funding to create a position to deal directly with the federal detention system in the same way as our current “Nunavik Justice Liaison Agent” for provincial detentions does at this time.