The Aboriginal Community Justice Program provides an alternative to court for Indigenous adults and youth that have acquired criminal charges.
In communities where these programs exist, Indigenuos accused have the option to apply to have their charges diverted (deferred) out of the courts and placed into the Aboriginal Community Justice Program. Each program has an operational protocol agreement with their local Crown Attorney’s office that outlines the process, the charge types, and eligibility requirements to participate in the program.
Applications for diversion are typically submitted by the Aboriginal Courtworker(s), or the program staff to the Crown Attorney. If the application is denied, the matter will proceed through the court process. If approved, the matter is adjourned (paused) for approximately six months to participate in the Aboriginal Community Justice Program.
Once in the Aboriginal Community Justice Program, a Healing Plan will be jointly created between the participant and trained Community Council Members. The Healing Plan sets out to address the underlying causes that lead to the offence by establishing conditions the participant will be required to complete during the adjournment period.
At the time of the next court date the Aboriginal Community Justice Program will provide the Crown Attorney with a report on the participant’s progress identifying whether the participant:
- Successfully completed the program - If the participant is successful, the charges are withdrawn (no conviction) and the matter is released from the courts.
- Needs more time - If the participant needs more time, a request for another adjournment period (usually three months) to complete the remaining conditions of the Healing Plan is made.
- Unsuccessful - If the participant is unsuccessful the participant and the charges will be directed back into the courts to be resolved.