Restorative Justice is about recognizing crime as a breach within a community, in which victim, offender and the community have all been harmed. It is a way of living together as a community.
Members of Trinity-St. Paul’s participate in several programs focussing on the re-integration ex-prisoners into the community. The Dismas Fellowhip meets on alternate Fridays at Walmer Road Baptist Church. Another group, which meets at the Keele Centre on alternate Tuesdays, offers support for those living at this halfway house operated by Corrections Canada. Both of these programs are coordinated by the Friends of Dismas. Further information may be obtained at www.friendsofdismas.com
Concern over changes to Chaplaincy ServiceIn the fall the Minister of Public Safety announced major changes in the way in which Chaplaincy services would be provided in the institutions as well as in the community. As a result of this proposal The Public Witness Circle presented to the TSP Board a letter to the Minister of Public Safety, Vic Toews, expressing our concern about these changes. The letter was endorsed by the Board as an expression of the views of the congregation. TSP`s concerns were in keeping with the Canadian Council of Churches, the Church Council on Justice and Corrections (of which the United Church is a member) and those of the United Church as expressed most eloquently by our Moderator.
The situation with respect to Chaplaincy in CSC remains a concern. As stated by the minister full time Chaplaincy positions in the institutions will continue for the present time. Part-time institutional chaplaincy contracts will end on March 31 2013. The ending of part-time chaplaincy institutional positions largely affects non-Christian faiths. Thus this decision appears to be seriously discriminatory. This is one of the issues TSP addressed in our letter to Mr. Toews. His decision also has resulted in the ending of the Women`s Reintegration Chaplaincy, a part-time position, which TSP has supported over the past few years. We view this as a great loss to the women who have benefited so greatly from the work of the Women`s chaplain.
Community Chaplaincy Contracts, most of which are part-time, will end on March 31 2013 unless there are option years left in the contract. For the present time, the position of the Community Chaplain for men (currently held by Harry Nigh) is not affected because it is full-time, but its continuation beyond September is not guaranteed.
Contracts with Circles of Support and Accountability have been renewed, or extended for one year.
These changes to the way in which Chaplaincy Services are provided to CSC profoundly affect those in their charge. The situation with respect to Chaplaincy in CSC remains fluid, a cause for serious concern, and one which we will monitor closely.