Interviewer: Vanessa Sicotte
Language of interview: French
Country of practice: Canada
Profession: Not specified. Interviewee was a participant in a restorative justice process.
Gilles Gazaille has participated in two restorative justice processes. The first one, in 2017, took place in a detention centre, while the second, in 2019, took place in the offices of the “Centre des Services pour la Justice Réparatrice”. During our conversation, Gazaille tells us about both experiences, including the spaces where they occurred and the sensations he felt in relation to those spaces. He explains his preference for a neutral room, outside of a home environment, with no physical barriers between participants. He highlights the importances of privacy, as well as the possibility to arrange the room according to the survivors’ desires, to ensure comfort and a feeling of safety. For Gazaille, a proper space is a foundation for a successful restorative process.
Further, he explains his first restorative experience which included the participation of five people: 2 facilitators, one survivor (himself), one offender, and one member of the community. He describes the space as a fairly small, office-like and comfortable room within a prison. It was located at the end of a corridor which gave him a sense of privacy. There was a circle configuration, and the room had a door with a small window, which did not allow participants to look outside.
The second experience happened in a bigger conference room, in an office building. According to Gazaille, it felt less “secret” and more exposed. The room had a table that had to be moved to form the circle, which gave him a feeling of attending a conference rather than a restorative justice practice. He describes the room as a noisy place where you could hear the office staff and tenants from the upper floor. He maintains, however, that while this restorative justice process was beneficial, he would prefer to do it again in a prison room rather than a busy office.