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I haven’t washed the dishes in a long time. (Or, at least, I hadn’t upon our return from the Maritimes.) Typically, being both somewhat hygienic and the better dishwasher, I find myself dishwashing quite regularly. I mention this odd fact because it stands, for me, as a symbol of being away from home for some time. And yet, touring didn’t feel like being so far from home after all. The Beatniks are a close-knit group, yet remain a welcoming one. Megan and I were the two new additions this round, yet we were never made to feel so. What was often commented on instead was how well we were fitting in with the group, and how the tour was going swimmingly. What helped even further with that was the fact that many Maritimers freely invited us into their homes, billeted us, and even fed us. So there were actually dishes that needed washing… All of this sense of community and home is something that I often find lacking within the legal profession, which is where I spend my days when I’m not taking vacation in order to tour a play (a circumstance that has only occurred this once, as of yet). What I also find unfortunately lacking, especially within my practice area of criminal law, is a strong place for restorative justice (RJ). While rehabilitation, reparation, and responsibility number among the enumerated principles of sentencing in the Criminal Code, denunciation and deterrence tend to be the scene-stealers. Restorative justice is often left tailing behind like the friend most legal practitioners have forgotten. Or perhaps never even met. Performing Forgiven/Forgotten was a welcome reminder that RJ should not be neglected in favour of more traditional, punishment-oriented criminal frameworks. It was heartening for me to see and meet communities who were engaging in restorative practices, both inside and outside of the criminal justice system, and who had been doing so for some time now. Until the tour, I didn’t know that some call Moncton the birthplace of RJ. (To be fair, I also didn’t know that the Maritimes don’t include Newfoundland; but I am learning that many of my fellow maudits Ontarians were at least also unaware of the latter fact.) Restorative justice’s focus on repairing relationships rather than punishing people for breaking rules sounds pie-in-the-sky to many lawyers, but meeting offenders and victims for whom it has helped heal the wounds of criminalization reinforced my faith in its possibilities. I don’t get to interact with people doing this important work that often in court, but I wish I did. And I find myself recommitted to seeking them out. -Sukhpreet Sangha

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