Vancouver Association for Restorative Justice

Vancouver Association for Restorative Justice

November 11, 2008 09:30 ET

Youth Custody Insider Speaks Out About Restorative Justice on the 11th Anniversary of Reena Virk Murder

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Nov. 11, 2008) - Gordon Cruse, author and 26-year-veteran youth corrections officer at Victoria's Youth Custody Centre, joins a roster of senior criminal justice and public officials to speak out at a news conference at 1 p.m., Wed., November 12, 2008 at the Roundhouse Community Centre (181 Roundhouse Mews) in Vancouver to support restorative justice options for victims and offenders and to mark Restorative Justice Week.

Cruse will give his personal account of working with all the young offenders involved in the 1997 murder of 14-year-old Reena Virk, particularly Warren Glowatski. As friends of both Glowatski and Reena's parents - Suman and Manjit Virk - Cruse will talk about the extraordinary results of restorative justice in the Virk case.

"I abhor what Warren did, and I've told him so. But I can separate the person from the act. What's miraculous is that the Virks have been able to do the same. Face-to-face with the Virks - Warren acknowledged his act and the terrible damage he did. In restorative justice circles, he asked Reena's parents for their forgiveness - and they gave it to him. It was an almost mystical act," says Cruse.

John de Haas, president of the Vancouver Association for Restorative Justice, who will MC the news conference, says crime and conflict can affect anyone.

"Our punishment-oriented response to crime does not hold offenders accountable, does nothing to address root causes of crime, ignores the victim completely, and does nothing to prevent crime from happening again. It does not meet its goals of rehabilitating the offender and deterring others. It is an expensive system with little or no positive output. We need an alternative approach," says de Haas.

Restorative Justice Week is an international, national, and local event from November 16th - 22nd. Today's Mayoral Proclamation is an acknowledgment of all restorative justice programs and practitioners in Vancouver. Speakers at today's news conference include:

- B.C. Attorney General Wally Oppal

- Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu

- Catherine Bargen, newly appointed Provincial Restorative Justice Coordinator

- Gregor Robertson, Vancouver Mayoral Candidate

- Peter Ladner, Vancouver Mayoral Candidate

- David Cadman, Deputy Mayor of Vancouver

Contact Information

  • Vancouver Association for Restorative Justice
    John de Haas
    Media Contact
    (604) 717-3161
    Website: www.varj.ca