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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Urban restorative justice : developing a restorative justice program in the city of Vancouver Adam, Caitlin


This study examines how to implement an urban restorative justice-based community development program using as a case study Thunderbird Restorative Justice (TRJ), based in Vancouver BC. The term restorative community development is used to describe the program central to the study. Restorative community development is distinct from other community development approaches because of its values-based orientation and emphasis on social interconnection. It is distinct from conventional restorative justice practice because of its intentional focus on building and strengthening community, which is consistent with restorative justice theory, but sometimes missing in practice. The researcher identifies nine key steps to implementation and offers a conceptual model through which to better understand three stages of implementation: foundation, design, implementation. Main challenges to program implementation are discussed, such as making meaningful connections with locals, obtaining and maintaining organizational capacity, and securing sustainable funding. Key lessons about implementation that can be learned include striking a balance between planning and action, being prepared to address many time-consuming details, and planning ahead by creating an ongoing engagement strategy to stay connected with community, partners, and volunteers. New avenues are identified for future research and academic examination, including using more holistic approaches to community development, exploring further the overlap of restorative justice and social work, and investigating implications for restorative social work arising from the communitarian movement. The study identifies additional skill sets that should be included in social work education, including grant writing, visioning and strategic planning. The researcher advocates for better communication and collaboration within the broad social justice movement, beginning with increased interdisciplinary education opportunities.

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