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Recent News, Articles & Videos

A restorative circle team builder around the IIRP World Conference

Posted by on Sep 30, 2013 in Leadership

The IIRP teaches others to implement restorative practices, but we also, through a process of continual reflection, strive within our own organizational structure to operate restoratively on a number of levels. I work in the Advancement, Communications and Technology department. Here we conduct our weekly check-in meetings using a series of circle questions, even as some of us, like me, phone in our participation in the circle by conference call. I also have regular monthly “supervision” meetings (again by phone) with my supervisor, Laura Mirsky, assistant director for communications. These meetings are an opportunity for me to reflect on my work, discuss challenges and get suggestions from Laura. In terms of the “social discipline...

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Video: Ted Wachtel illustrates restorative concepts with stories, research and quotes

Posted by on Sep 24, 2013 in Featured, Video

IIRP President Ted Wachtel spoke at a restorative justice conference at Utah Valley University in autumn 2012, and the talk has been posted on youtube. Wachtel speaks informally for the first few minutes about his personal journey that led him to start schools to help at-risk youth improve their behavior. In his prepared talk, which starts at minute seven, he interweaves powerful stories of restorative conferences and research results to illustrate a variety of basic restorative practices concepts. Parts of this talk essentially are a “reading” from Wachtel’s new book, Dreaming of a New Reality. See the video at...

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Restorative practices in student conduct on college campus

Posted by on Sep 23, 2013 in Higher Education

When it comes to responding to inappropriate behavior on the college campus, a small but growing number of professionals responsible for addressing student conduct at colleges and universities are recognizing the potential of restorative practices to help young adults take responsibility for their behavior and set a new course. Rafael Rodriguez, Assistant Director of Redstone Campus & Community and Leadership Development at the University of Vermont (UVM), discussed a conduct case he heard a couple years ago involving two first year men who were documented three times for using drugs and alcohol by resident advisors (RAs) in the first week of the academic year. He started the hearing, he said, by giving the young men a typical...

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Guest blog: Faith groups and restorative justice

Posted by on Sep 20, 2013 in Faith Communities

Martin Wright is a former director of the Howard League for Penal Reform, policy officer of Victim Support and a founder member of the UK’s Restorative Justice Council. Restorative Justice Online describes him as “an early advocate for restorative justice in the UK and Europe.” In this guest blog, originally posted in the Church Times, he argues that Restorative justice has been tried and tested but needs to be applied. He offers a critique of UK government policy and a suggestion that faith groups could play an important role in RJ implementation across the country. It works.  So why don’t people use it? by Martin Wright A government minister, Jeremy Wright, recently raised hopes of a new approach to criminal...

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NIH to fund first randomized controlled trials for restorative practices in 16 Maine schools

Posted by on Sep 19, 2013 in Schools

RAND Corporation, in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health, is embarking on a randomized controlled study to measure the effectiveness of restorative practices in influencing school environments and decreasing problem behaviors. The five-year project begins its first year with a planning phase. RAND will coordinate with the International Institute for Restorative Practices and its licensee, the Restorative Justice Project of the Midcoast, based in Belfast, Maine, to deliver restorative practices training to the study group of eight middle schools. These schools will implement restorative practices whole-school change beginning in school year 2014-15. Another eight schools will serve as a comparison group. These schools will...

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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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