Alternative measures/extrajudicial sanctions programs provide individuals who are accused of committing a Criminal Code offence an opportunity to make reparation to victims and their community. While the programs are similar, alternative measures programs are used when the accused is an adult, and extrajudicial sanctions programs are used for youth.
Alternative measures/extrajudicial sanctions programs offer accused persons a chance to take responsibility for their behaviour and address the harm they have committed. They take a problem-solving approach to crime which emphasizes healing while helping repair relationships between the victim, the accused and the community as much as possible.
Alternative measures/extrajudicial sanctions programs provide effective, efficient ways of resolving disputes that involve communities in developing culturally sensitive services to promote healing and reparation. They are also a way to address crime in conjunction with the criminal justice system. They aim to:
- Increase the offender's accountability for criminal actions;
- Promote the involvement of victims in the process;
- Protect society by deterring accused persons from further criminal behaviour; and
- Involve the community in addressing crime and conflict.
Alternative measures/extrajudicial sanctions programs frequently use restorative justice. Restorative justice is an approach that focuses on addressing the harm caused by crime while holding the offender responsible for his or her actions, by providing an opportunity for the parties directly affected by crime – victim(s), offender and community – to identify and address their needs in the aftermath of a crime. It supports healing, reintegration, the prevention of future harm and reparation, if possible. This definition covers the wide range of restorative work occurring in the criminal justice sector. Saskatchewan is considered a national leader in using restorative justice processes with over 4,000 alternative measures/extrajudicial sanctions cases every year.