A Blackfalds women who spearheaded the Rural Red Deer Restorative Justice program was among 14 individuals and organizations to receive 2022 Alberta Community Justice Awards on Friday.
Debbie Leitch, a retired nurse, developed and recruited facilitators for the program. She also took on a significant caseload.
Red Deer Rural Restorative Justice Program began last spring and gives young offenders an opportunity to apologize for their crimes and commit themselves to becoming a better person and member of society.
For victims, it provides a chance to express how the offence hurt them, an opportunity often not available in the regular court system.
Leitch was recognized in the leadership category of the awards that celebrates Albertans who find ways to prevent crime and promote restorative justice in their neighbourhoods, towns and cities.
Other awards categories included innovation, community mobilization, partnerships and collaboration, and service enhancement.
“Whether they’re helping Albertans fight racism and inequality, doing street-level work to deter crime or helping individuals navigate the legal system, the recipients of this year’s Alberta Community Justice Awards have all helped make this province a safer, more community-minded place,” said Justice Minister Tyler Shandro in a statement.
The awards ceremony took place at Lacombe Memorial Centre in Lacombe, and was co-hosted by the province, Lacombe Police Service, and Lacombe and District Family and Community Support Services.