Frontline reflections of restorative justice in Winnipeg: considering settler colonialism in our practice
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Based on the reflections of frontline workers, this paper explores restorative justice programming in Winnipeg, Manitoba and critically raises questions around settler colonialism, the justice process, and the “participant” “worker” relationship. Within settler colonial theory, the criminal justice system is seen as a colonial project that continues to disproportionately control and confine Indigenous Peoples. Exploring how workers understand settler colonialism and the restorative justice difference in their work and in their relationship with participants, this thesis argues that, to its detriment, restorative justice theory has not adequately considered settler colonialism. Grounded in a critical constructivist research paradigm, data was collected through one-on-one interviews and focus groups with ten frontline workers who are program coordinators, victim offender mediators, and community workers. Framed by the writer’s own experience as a frontline worker, the collected narratives offer critical, yet hopeful insight into restorative justice theory and practice, particularly within settler colonial contexts.