A discussion with Audrey Isenor – Executive Director of Community Justice Alternatives of Durham Region
FDRIO: What is Community Justice Alternatives of Durham Region, and who are the members and users of your organization?
Since 1981, Community Justice Alternatives of Durham Region (CJADurham) has provided Durham Region residents with programs and services that:
- contribute toward the prevention of crime
- develop safer communities
- address social issues and the rehabilitation of offenders, and
- promote stronger communication and healthier family well-being.
Our website https://www.cjadurham.ca has information on all of our services and programs and we invite you to browse this information.
FDRIO: What do you believe are the most important elements of a community justice approach?
We pride ourselves at CJADurham on our focus on confidentiality and trust. In our programming, respect is critical; understanding of the various needs of the community members – whether they are youth, seniors, persons harmed or persons who caused harm. Ensuring that those persons harmed have a voice is a critical component of community justice, whether the issues involve individuals or the entire community.
FDRIO: Do you have any evaluations or outcomes studies about community justice?
Historically very few studies have been completed and this does impact funding and marketing of our services. The need for privacy has contributed to this issue. There is currently a study underway with respect to community mediation and we hope to have some results in the spring of 2020. Various studies have indicated that “Restorative justice has been shown to increase the satisfaction by individuals and communities affected by crime and ensures that those affected can have a voice and role in the process. This results in more meaningful and effective outcomes for both those affected and those responsible for harms. Offenders who participate in restorative justice are less likely to repeat their actions.” Quote from: https://novascotia.ca/just/rj/.
FDRIO: How has the work you do with community justice enhanced your professional practice?
As a family and elder mediator, I have found that the work I do at CJADurham has assisted me in having a better understanding of the needs of families and the community at large. Our work at CJA Durham focuses on restoring relationships and this focus filters into my professional practice. A greater understanding of various cultures and inter-personal relationships has broadened the scope of my practice.
AUDREY ISENOR (SC) – Executive Director of Community Justice Alternatives of Durham Region, Q.Med. with ADRIO, Member of OAFM and FDRIO & Member of Odetaan Maamwi ADRIO’s Indigenous Reconciliation and Advancement Working Group. Audrey chairs the FDRIOWeek Durham Meet’n’Greet each year and provides Mediation Training (Community and Restorative Justice Training through CJADurham. Audrey’s private practice, Isenor Live Mediation Services provides family and elder mediation.