What is the Direct Accountability Program?
The Direct Accountability Program is an alternative to prosecution for eligible individuals who have been charged with minor criminal offences. The program involves accused persons being held accountable through community-based sanctions.
Individuals over the age of 18 years of age with no or limited prior involvement in the adult court system who are charged with minor offences.
How is a person referred to the program?
The Crown Attorney will notify the accused at their first court appearance if they may be considered eligible. The accused then meets with a Community Justice Worker at the court. The Worker will gather information about the individual and about the offence, and complete an assessment to determine if the individual meets the requirements for the program. Duty Counsel will advise the participant about their rights and the benefits of the program. To be considered for the program an individual must:
- Be willing to accept responsibility for actions that led to the charge.
- Be willing to make amends for their offence through an assigned task or “sanction”.
- Complete an agreement which outlines the term/s of a sanction to be met.
What is expected of Participants in the Program?
The Community Justice Worker’s assessment of the individual will include determining the person’s ability and willingness to make reparation for the offence and their suitability and motivation to participate in programming. The Community Justice Worker will discuss the sanction to be imposed with the participant and a time limit will be set for the completion of the agreed upon sanction.
Some of the sanctions available through the Direct Accountability Program include:
- An apology
- Volunteer Work
- Charitable donation
- Attending a program or presentation
- John School
- Peace Bond
Being eligible to participate in the program does not mean a person is “getting off easy”. It does mean, however, that by successfully completing the sanction imposed, individuals can be held accountable for their behaviour and have the charge(s) withdrawn by the courts.
How long does it take to complete the program?
Cases referred to the Direct Accountability Program can be resolved as quickly as the same day, but some cases may require an adjournment for a period of time for participants to fulfill the terms of their sanction.
What are the benefits of the program?
- It allows for the efficient resolution of some minor court matters.
- It saves on the amount of time victims and witnesses may have to spend in court.
- It recognizes that community-based sanctions can be an effective way of holding some individuals accountable for some minor offences.
- It holds individuals accountable for their actions while ensuring they also make amends.
For more information please contact: Community Justice Worker at 705-725-0613 ext 242 | firstname.lastname@example.org