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Recent News, Articles & Videos

Video: The family group conference

Posted by on Sep 18, 2013 in Families, Video

The Family Group Conference or FGC (known as Family Group Decision Making or FGDM in North America) is a restorative practice that involves extended family, and sometimes close friends and community, in a process of solution-focused problem-solving. Family Rights Group, a charity in England and Wales that advises families with children with welfare needs and concerns, has produced a series of three videos to help explain these processes. The longest of the three videos, which dramatizes an FGC, is shown below. Visit Family Rights Group to see all three videos. Visit Family Power to learn more about the IIRP’s project, which incorporates the formal FGDM process as well as a continuum of more informal ways to engage and empower...

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Restorative practices can help close school-to-prison pipeline

Posted by on Sep 17, 2013 in Schools

An article titled “The Use of Restorative Practices as a Strategy for Closing the School-to-Prison Pipeline” by IIRP Assistant Professor and Director of Continuing Education Dr. John Bailie has just been published in Race, Law, and Justice: Strategies for Closing the School-to-Prison Pipeline, a series of articles as a follow-up to a symposium held in February 2013 by the District Attorney’s office of Kings County, New York, and Medgar Evers College, City University of New York. Bailie’s piece is printed below. The entire journal, which includes an array of articles looking at many relevant issues and perspectives on race, zero tolerance and alternatives like restorative justice, may be downloaded for free....

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Interview: Author Margaret Murray writes first “restorative mystery”

Posted by on Sep 13, 2013 in Featured

The following is an audio interview, and a transcription, with Margaret Murray, author of Forging Justice: A Restorative Justice Mystery, published in September 2013 and available now in the IIRP Book Store. [hmp_player playlist=’Forging_Justice_-_Margaret_Murray_Interview’] Listen using the player above or download the interview. Joshua Wachtel: Welcome, I have Margaret Murray on the line. She’s the author of a new book, Forging Justice: A Restorative Justice Mystery. She’s also the librarian at the IIRP, and a 2013 graduate of the IIRP Graduate School. Welcome, Margaret. Margaret Murray: Thank you, Josh. I’m really happy to be here. JW: Well, I’m looking forward to talking to you about your new book, which is just out. Can...

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IIRP Canada’s Bruce Schenk on keynote panel at National RJ Symposium

Posted by on Sep 12, 2013 in Canada, Justice

It has become a tradition in Canada since 1996 to host Restorative Justice Week during the third full week in November, and for the past 15 years to celebrate the week with a National Restorative Justice Symposium. Every year, the event is hosted by a different community-based agency in a different location around the country. This year’s event takes place November 17-19 in Toronto, Ontario, hosted by YOUCAN and The Canadian Safe School Network. Dave Fraser, Director of Special Projects & Social Media at the Canadian Safe School Network, the co-chair of the event, said, “The National Restorative Justice Symposium is an important and valuable annual event that brings together members of the RJ community from around the...

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CSF Buxmont starts school year setting “norms” with student circles

Posted by on Sep 11, 2013 in Model Program, Schools

On the very first day at all Community Service Foundation and Buxmont Academy schools (demonstration programs of the International Institute for Restorative Practices Graduate School), students meet in circles to set “norms”(agreed-upon standards) for their school. This starts off the school year with a restorative practice, doing things with students instead of telling them what to do. The thinking goes, if students set their own norms, they feel ownership and want to abide by them. They also feel responsible for holding their fellow students accountable to do the same. Karen Engle, coordinator of the CSF Buxmont school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA, says staff engages students to come up with norms for their classroom, groups,...

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New IIRP initiative creates European affiliate

Posted by on Sep 10, 2013 in Featured

The IIRP is consolidating many of its relationships in Europe to create a new initiative under the banner of IIRP Europe. With affiliates in the UK and Hungary, plus associates in the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, Spain and Portugal, IIRP President Ted Wachtel believed that Europe needed to have a regional identity under the global IIRP banner. Les Davey, CEO of IIRP Europe (formerly IIRP UK & Ireland) welcomed the move and said that it better represents the IIRP’s operations across Europe. Vidia Negrea, Director, Community Service Foundation of Hungary, said, “I think it is a great change with new possibilities to create a stronger presence in Europe.” IIRP Europe’s activities will initially be centered in the United Kingdom...

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Video: Rethinking the impact of traditional justice

Posted by on Sep 9, 2013 in Justice, Video

Natalie DeFreitas, a mental health counselor and restorative justice advocate, delivers a great talk on restorative justice at TedXVancouver from 2012. She argues that while crime rates are falling in Canada, she experiences the system – which locks record numbers of people up for crimes both great and small – as broken. What will happen, she asks, when all those people are released? Won’t they commit further crimes? DeFreitas illustrates her argument by retelling the story of a restorative justice conference for an offender she worked with. She punctuates her talk by saying, “Justice is not something that happens to you. Justice is something that we build.” Watch TEDxVancouver Talk on Restorative Justice from Natalie...

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Restorative justice in Los Angeles schools

Posted by on Sep 6, 2013 in Schools

This post from the LA Progressive by Diane Lefer discusses a lot of the issues that are coming to the fore in many urban centers with regard to schools, including the failure of zero tolerance policies and the stigmatization of the “school-to-prison pipeline,” often for minor offenses; the role of community activists in changing school policies; and restorative justice practices as a key to devising new solutions to legitimate concerns about discipline problems in schools and the lack of a safe, inclusive environment. I was particularly struck by this statement by Judge Donna Grosman that “school is the center of the community,” which correlates very nicely with IIRP’s notion of school-based restorative zones...

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Swansea, Wales, UK, on the path to becoming a restorative city

Posted by on Sep 5, 2013 in Community

Hilary Davies, the restorative practices project manager for the city and county of Swansea, Wales, UK, wrote the following post to discuss the region’s efforts to become a restorative city. “It’ll change your life, it’ll change you!” These are the opinions of Chelsea who was excluded from two comprehensive schools due to bad behaviour resulting in her being moved to a pupil referral unit. As the only girl out of 13 boys in the class, she found this tough, and there were times when she’d ‘kick off’ and retreat to the corner of the class. Following the training the staff received in Restorative Practice (RP), her form tutor, already passionate about using the approach, started using the question cards to deal with disputes in the...

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Data: Suspensions in Boston & Ontario school districts down thanks to restorative justice

Posted by on Sep 4, 2013 in Canada, Schools

In the US and Canada, the failing policies of zero tolerance are giving way in many schools to restorative justice and restorative practices. These schools are demonstrating one after another that restorative practices can successfully reduce suspensions, expulsions and other punitive responses to wrongdoing. Schools using restorative justice address wrongdoing, but they do it in an inclusive way that does not stigmatize students but instead aims to teach and reintegrate them into regular school programming. In the Kawartha Lakes region in central Ontario, Canada, the local newspaper (Kawartha.com) has reported on significant reductions in suspensions and expulsions at Trillium Lakelands District School Board, which in recent years...

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