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'Everyone deserves a second chance': West Shore RCMP highlight successes with restorative justice program

If you do a bad thing, it doesn't make you a bad person. That's the message behind a program on the West Shore that is taking a compassionate approach to criminal justice, while saving time and money for the courts.

Liquor Planet in Langford is just one business involved in the program. Manager Wyatt Oickle says it’s not unusual for people to steal from the family-owned business, saying it’s like stealing from his family every time it happens.

That’s until one woman swiped an expensive bottle of vodka.

“She was an addict and wanted to just kind of fulfill her needs," says Oickle.

He knows she’s an addict because he got to sit down with her through the West Shore RCMP’s restorative justice program. Instead of pressing charges, victims can push for community service.

"They just make a one-time bad decision is how we look at it. And now we can set them back on the right track," says program coordinator Randie Johal.

“We believe everyone deserves a second chance, especially when it’s of a minor nature.”

This year alone the program has already helped divert 24 people from the courts, like two teens caught spray-painting around Starlight Stadium.

"It was a completely boneheaded move and they admitted it, too," said one of the teen's parents.

The teens wrote apology letters, paid a fine, and did park cleanups to repay their debts.

“I guarantee you, they’re not going to be doing that again," added the parent. “That would just be horrible for such a stupid minor offence to have that affect the rest of your life.” Top Stories

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