Restorative justice focus of film

The Boundary Restorative Justice Program hosted a film on the topic at Gem theatre in Grand Forks last month.

About 60 people showed up at the GEM Theatre on Thursday night (Jan. 29) for a viewing of the film A Healing River and a discussion afterwards.

The film is a documentary about restorative justice and features interviews with several different subjects with a wide range of experiences from First Nations to prisoners to university professors to provincial court judges.

After the film, the movie producers, Larry Moore and Cathie Douglas, as well as local

RCMP Staff Sgt. Jim Harrison and Boundary Restorative Justice Program coordinator Richard Tarnoff panelled a discussion about the film and the role of restorative justice in the community.

“Part of our mandate for our program is to inform the community about what we do and what restorative justice is, and to do that we make presentations and we often have information tables at events,” said Tarnoff.

He said the film presentation and discussion was a natural progression from those. He said he contacted all the parties and was able to set it up.

“I think the film, though short, gives a good picture of how restorative justice is connected to all aspects of the community—child development, crime, community relations, victim services—and so it gives a bigger picture,” said Tarnoff. “This film takes a deeper look and a broader look at what communities need to be safe and healthy and heal when harm happens and what a challenge that is.”

Tarnoff said the discussion after the viewing was a great opportunity for those in the audience to talk about what they thought of the film. “It was very good,” he said. “I thought it was a great turnout. It was a lot more than we expected for something that most people would see as dry and academic. People were really forthcoming with their ideas and questions.”

Tarnoff said the group is very appreciative of the staff at the GEM for allowing them to use the theatre. He also praised the work of Staff Sgt. Harrison, whom he says has been very supportive of the program.

Anyone wanting more information about the program can contact Tarnoff by phone at 250-442-8633 or email boundaryrjp@gmail.com. A Healing River is available at the Grand Forks Public Library for anyone who was unable to attend.