Thank you very much for working in the Collaborative Justice Program. Going through the Collaborative Justice Program as an offender allowed me to express my remorse and apologies to victims I would otherwise never have been allowed to speak with, due to non-contact orders.
I went through a tough time in my life after being charged with offences, feeling like I wanted to apologize and explain to victims that my alcoholism resulted in the offences and that I truly felt terrible for what harm I had caused. In traditional cases, the offender is not allowed to communicate indirectly or directly with the victims, however Collaborative Justice acted as a medium for communication that was safe and comfortable for victims, and gave them closure.
In my experience with the program the victims responded in a very positive way. Accepting my apologies, they also offered words of encouragement and hope for me to move forward with my life and learn from my mistakes. This reaction of forgiveness allowed the victims to feel closure and resolve. Although I still had shame and guilt for what I had done, it helped me to grow and move forward in life to have had the opportunity to make amends with people I hurt.
For people like myself who struggle with addictions this program makes a serious difference. I have always believed that recidivism rates are lower with restorative justice than with punitive justice, and for people like myself, you have made a situation that was bad become a situation people could live with and have peace of mind. Your program has made a huge difference in my life, my children's lives and the lives of the victims I harmed. I truly wish that in the future your program grows in assisting victims of crime and offenders to come to a much better resolve than in the way traditional court would.
Society has benefited as a whole because of your commitment to Collaborative Justice. I am forever greatful. Thank you.
You can have faith in what you do by seeing what you just did.