Aston Jonction producer and director Pauline Voisard discusses restorative justice in her latest documentary When punishment is not enough: restorative justice. The film’s grand premiere will take place in Trois-Rivières on October 11 at Cinéma Le Tapis Rouge.
Restorative justice is a process that encourages offenders to accept the consequences of their actions and repair the harm or damage caused by a crime. This can complement the traditional justice system.
In the documentary, as an observer beyond the closed doors, the viewer follows the mediator and attends the preparatory meetings where the victim and the offender dialogue in order to repair.
“My favorite thing about documentaries is showing people trying to take control of their destiny. I wanted to show that restorative justice casts a wide net, explains Pauline Voisard. People often don’t know and have many ideas and perceptions. It’s often a bit wrong. We could tend to think that initiating a restorative justice process is a way of going through the meshes of the traditional justice network, that it is a way of obtaining a sentence reduction or that it is only about neighborhood fights. I found it interesting to see that restorative justice can be applied in different situations and integrated into the traditional justice system. »
We feel the honesty and sincerity that emanates from the encounters that are presented on the screen. And they are varied: a criminal who has committed a robbery in a pharmacy and her victim, a teenager and her abuser father, a woman who wants to meet the murderer of her father… The camera takes us into the intimacy of these encounters. The documentary When punishment is not enough: restorative justice it also focuses on the reality of mediators in their daily lives and how they handle situations that make them more emotional.
Trust that is earned
One of the biggest challenges the director and producer faced was gaining the trust of the mediators, but also of those involved in the restorative justice process.
“The people we see have agreed to trust me. It’s intimate. We enter the bubble of this trio that wants to explain the consequences of the actions that have been taken. Authenticity and truth are at the heart of the process,” he notes.
Pauline Voisard contacted the ÉquiJustice network. In silence, she was able to contact the mediators to explain her approach.
“I made a video to introduce myself and explain my work process,” he explains. It was a long process because Renaud De Repentigny and I had to think about how we would shoot everything. We had different constraints: people didn’t want to be filmed head-on, other people’s voices had to be changed… My goal was to find the right mediators, those who would agree to be filmed while working. »
“And then from meeting to meeting, you don’t know how people will progress and evolve. When was I going to embark on the process? There were a lot of questions to be asked,” she adds. From the idea of sharing to the end of the project, three years passed.
It was quickly agreed that he needed to get there early enough in the process to be part of the team from the start.
“There have been many meetings on Zoom before. It could also help in the preparation of meetings. I closed my camera and we were able to exchange. The restorative justice process involves small steps, and I have taken small steps too. We were able to discuss ways to film this. So we would sit and try to become invisible. I shot a lot more than usual, because I didn’t know if people would change their minds along the way, as it’s a pretty touchy subject. We work with great vigilance so as not to interfere with the restorative justice process for those involved”, explains Ms. Voisard.
“Every time we came back from a shoot, Renaud and I would talk about what had happened. We were worried because people were generous in allowing us to be there in these fragile times. It was always disturbing to see that people who were victims or actors of such gestures decide, one day, to try to explain themselves and talk to the other party. It made me think about all the things that were left unsaid in our relationships with friends, family, at work and in our different social circles”, he continues.
on tv soon
The documentary will air in November on Radio-Canada as part of Doc Humanité and on ICI TOU.TV. When Punishing Is Not Enough: Restorative Justice is directed and produced by Pauline Voisard for Productions Triangle Inc. It is surrounded by Renaud De Repentigny in photography, Josiane Lapointe in editing, Michèle Groleau in original music composition, Roger Guérin in sound design and Steve Patry as a script consultant.
In addition, Equijustice Network will collaborate on various Quebec screenings of the film. When punishment is not enough: restorative justice facilitating discussions. In addition to the Cinéma Le Tapis Rouge screening, stops are planned in Quebec City, Montreal, Sherbrooke, Rivière-du-Loup, Saguenay, Drummondville, Victoriaville, Rimouski, Carleton, Repentigny and Longueuil at the end of November.