We are committed to the development and delivery of justice programs that are devolved from provincial and federal authorities. This period of development and delivery of Euro-Canadian program initiatives provides the MLCN with the time required to build capacity in the area of pâstâhowin (breaking laws against humans) while exploring the creation of a First Nations justice system in conjunction with interested partners.
The Community Justice Program
The Muskeg Lake Cree Nation Community Justice Program is a program funded through the Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC). The Muskeg Lake of the Cree Nation is working toward the community justice program to be about much more than going to court.
The Community Justice Program is committed to developing and delivering justice programs devolved from provincial and federal authorities. The program objectives are to:
- Continue to deliver pre-charge and post-charge diversion programs for youth and adults in conflict with the law
- Continue to develop and support Community Justice Committee
- continue to enhance kehte-yak involvement in all aspects of community justice planning and decision making.
- Deliver ongoing education and awareness programming on criminal justice processes and community justice programs
- Develop integrated community based strategies that address the holistic needs of youth involved at all levels of the criminal justice system pursuant to the Youth Criminal Justice Act
This period of development and delivery of Euro-Canadian program initiatives provides the MLCN with the time required to build capacity in pimâtisiwin (life), pimâcihowin (livelihood), pâstâhowin (breaking laws against humans), ohcinêwin (breaking laws against anything other than a human, manâtisiwin (respect), miyo-ohpikinâwasowin (good child rearing), wahkôtowin (kinship) and tâpowakêyihtamowin (religion, faith). These tenets of nêhiyaw wiyasowêwina (Cree laws) form the foundation of Cree Justice.
Professional and Public Events
The Muskeg Lake Justice Worker and Supervisor participated in a comprehensive review of the First Nations Policing Program (FNPP) held in April 2010. It was an opportunity for several of the First Nations to express views on the Policing Agreements and urge for more development in the Peace Keeping role in community.
Public events held over the past year:
- A Firearms Acquisition course (10 new people are now able to get their permits)
- A Safety Squad Car demonstration at our Treaty Day celebrations
- Three Community Justice Committee members have been trained to lead Community Justice Forums and one member has completed Mediation training
There is ongoing education for the Community Justice Worker (CJW) and the Community Addictions Program (CAP) on implementing an illegal drug management strategy. With joint collaboration, the two departments have visited two communities to observe how the community put together their initiative in this field.
We will soon offer the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE), which teaches children skills so they can avoid getting involved in drugs, gangs and violence. DARE teaches them how to resist peer pressure and live productive drug- and violence-free lives. Constable Nicole Gagnon is trained to deliver this program.
The Community Justice program offers an opportunity for the accused to make amend—to the victim, the community and/or those who have been affected by crime—through a restorative justice approach. It offers a chance for the victim to be heard and to ask any questions that will allow for the healing process to begin.
This is a program that uses victim/offender mediation and community justice forums as ways of providing at-risk youth with opportunity to take responsibility for their unlawful behavior without requiring them to go through the formal Youth Court process. Youth may be referred to the program if it is deemed this would be an appropriate way for a them to be held accountable for their behavior.
Alternative Measures is a voluntary program. Youth are free to choose to take part, and they are encouraged to consult with a lawyer before making a decision. They have the right, at any time during the process, to ask that their case be heard in Youth Court.
If a young person chooses to participate, an Alternative Measures Caseworker makes arrangements for mediation or a community justice forum. Each party is given an opportunity to express their feelings and opinions about the offense, and, with the assistance of the mediator, to come to an agreement that all parties believe is fair. The Agreement might involve the youth doing volunteer work for the victim or the community, paying the victim for the damages, attending counseling, writing an essay related to the offense, or any other activity acceptable to everyone. If the youth successfully completes what was agreed to, he or she is cleared of any further responsibility for the offense. If the youth was charged, the charge is dismissed.
Mediation is one way for people to settle disputes outside of court. In mediation, a neutral third party—the mediator—helps the disputing parties look for a solution that works for them.
Mediators, unlike judges, do not decide cases or impose settlements. The mediator’s role is to help the people involved in a dispute to communicate and negotiate with each other in a constructive manner, to gain a better understanding of the interests of all parties, and to find a resolution based on common understanding and mutual agreement.
The purpose of mediation is not to determine who wins and who loses, but to develop creative solutions to disputes in a way that is not possible at a trial.
The Fine Option program is not an alternative to sentencing but gives those charged an opportunity to settle fines by doing unpaid, supervised community service work rather than paying in cash. The agent assigns suitable community service work to people who register to settle fines under the program. The Agent also advises the court of the outcome of the assignment.
The Fine Option Program allows for settling fines under a long list of legislation and accompanying regulations.
Education and Awareness
This service delivers ongoing education and awareness programming on criminal justice processes and community justice programs