Parkland Restorative Justice (PRJ) is a community based non-profit located on Treaty Six Territory in Prince Albert. We offer positive social support to inmates at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary, and offenders reintegrating into the parkland region. To do this we rely on volunteers to help us deliver our programming.
We believe that positive social support is a basic need of all people and is a powerful healing tool. By walking with those who are labeled as offenders in our justice system we are helping to improve community safety and demonstrating that no one is disposable.
Core to what we do are the values and principles found in restorative justice. We emphasize the following restorative practices in our programming:
Providing social support to offenders while encouraging them to understand, accept, and carry out obligations.
Encouraging collaboration and reintegration, rather than coercion and isolation in our justice system.
Showing respect for all parties, including victims, offenders and justice colleagues.
Involving and empowering the affected community through the justice process, and increase its capacity to recognize and respond to community bases of crime.
WHO WE SERVE
The majority of offenders participating in our programs have or are serving time at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary - the federal prison for males in Prince Albert. A vast majority of them are either Metis or First Nations.
These individuals have often come from difficult circumstances. Poverty, discrimination, trauma, historical trauma, and addictions are all root of causes for criminal activity leading to incarceration.
Many of these individuals are lacking positive supports. Because of this, we seek to find volunteers who have a passion for reaching out and show a capacity to listen compassionately, respond wisely, and offer encouragement and accountability.
Parkland Restorative Justice INC. is a registered non-profit, faith-based organization that seeks to create safe communities by following the principles of restorative justice in helping offenders reintegrate into the community.
In 1974, a group of Mennonites implemented an inmate visitation program at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary. Orville Andres, a Mennonite pastor, began the program with only 7 volunteers - which quickly grew to over 100 volunteers in the 1980’s after Dale Schiele took over as full time coordinator. The program a was called Person to Person (P2P), and was designed to match volunteers on a permanent one-to one basis with inmates to provide friendship and affirm human dignity to inmates experiencing loneliness and isolation. The focus of visitation was in Prince Albert, where most of the province’s correctional facilities existed and where the only federal institution in the province was situated. As time went on, visits were also offered in prisons in Saskatoon.
Throughout the years, it became evident to the co-ordinator and volunteers of the P2P program that offenders needed more reintegration support. More support would lesson the likihood of them re-offending and creating more victims. In 1997, the Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) model, used for reintegrating sex offenders, was adopted by the staff and volunteers in the P2P program to work with newly released offenders reintegrating in Prince Albert, Saskatoon, or Regina areas.
In 2014, increased support across denominational lines led to the transition of P2P and CoSA programming in Prince Albert to no longer being under the umbrella of Mennonite Church Saskatchewan, but under the formation of a new non profit, Parkland Restorative Justice. This formation was intended to better reflect the variety of partners involved in the organization and to keep it a financially sustainable initiative. Meanwhile in Saskatoon, The Micah Mission, and in Regina, CoSA South Saskatchewan, were formed by a variety of faith partners in those communities.