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Recent News, Articles & Videos

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 ( has reported on significant reductions in suspensions and expulsions at Trillium Lakelands District School Board, which in recent years...

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Restorative Justice: An International Journal publishes issue two

Posted by on Sep 3, 2013 in Justice

RJIJ Issue Two – Contents: Editorial Why restorative justice matters for criminology Lode Walgrave, Ivo Aertsen, Stephan Parmentier, Inge Vanfraechem and Estelle Zinsstag Articles Victims’ needs and participation in justice: is there a role for vengeance? Bas van Stokkom For whom is restorative justice? A mixed-method study on victims and (non-) participation Daniela Bolívar The meaning of impunity: what do victims, offenders and society think of restorative encounters in the context of ETA terrorism in Spain? Gema Varona Revisiting people’s mediation in China: practice, performance and challenges Hongwei Zhang Family violence, fathers, and restoring personhood Joan Pennell, Tia Sanders, R. V. Rikard, Joetta Shepherd and...

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Chernobyl Children’s Project brings restorative practices to Belarus

Posted by on Aug 30, 2013 in Justice

Simon Saxton, Residential and Alternative Provisions Manager, and Jacqui Raynor, Police Inspector, both for North Yorkshire, UK, and trained as IIRP UK trainers, recently visited the Gomel region of the Republic of Belarus, under the auspices of the Chernobyl Children’s Project (UK), to deliver restorative practices training. Trainees received an introduction to restorative practices and circles training during the five-day visit in May, 2013. Participants included police officers assigned to juvenile correction services, as well as teachers and psychologists working primarily in vocational schools. A model circle was filmed and shown on local television. Saxton and Raynor plan to return to Belarus in October for 10 days, to follow...

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Restorative practices outcomes: One of the few things everyone agrees on

Posted by on Aug 29, 2013 in Schools

Ross Brenneman at EdWeek’s “Rules for Engagement” blog reports on a recent pole, the “Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup annual national survey,” that shows few Americans have heard of “Common Core Standards,” which have been adopted by all but four states, and even fewer understand what they are. However, according to Brenneman, “There was huge support for the idea that schools should address social-emotional skills. Over 50 percent of respondents displayed strong agreement with the following statements: Today’s schools should teach critical-thinking skills. Today’s schools should teach communication skills. Today’s schools should teach students how to set meaningful goals....

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“Peace Building”: Architecture and design as a restorative practice

Posted by on Aug 27, 2013 in Justice

This piece caught my attention for a number of reasons, not least because it comes from such a surprising and fresh direction. In a recent article titled “Restorative Justice: An Interview with Deanna VanBuren,” ArchDaily, a trade publication for architects and designers, notes that the group Architects, Designers and Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR) “is campaigning to have the [American Institute of Architects] forbid its members from designing prisons” as a form of protest against the punitive U.S. penal system. But the editors are pleased to have discovered the work of Deanna VanBuren of FOURM Design Studio, who says she is looking at “the question of how architects might actually change the...

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IIRP President Ted Wachtel to keynote at Spalding University

Posted by on Aug 26, 2013 in Featured

The Kentucky Center for Restorative Justice and the Children’s Law Center present Restorative Practices: A Statewide Symposium at Spalding University on Thursday, October 10th, 2013, from 9 am to  5 pm. The theme of the symposium is “Teaching Leaders to Implement Restorative Practices for Youth.” IIRP President Ted Wachtel will present a keynote address on themes from his new book, Dreaming of a New Reality: How restorative practices reduce crime and violence, improve relationships and strengthen civil society. Sujatha Baliga, director of the Restorative Justice Project for the National Council for Crime & Delinquency will also be featured. For more information call 502-873-4314 or register...

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Book review: Rights & Restoration within Youth Justice by Theo Gavrielides

Posted by on Aug 23, 2013 in Book Review, Justice

The following book review appeared at RJ4All, a web site offering free restorative justice resources. The original review may be found here (free member login required). Theo Gavrielides, Editor (2012), Rights & Restoration within Youth Justice, De Sitter Publications, Canada Reviewed by: Judah Oudshoorn, Professor of Community & Criminal Justice, Conestoga College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada If policymakers have the objective of bettering justice responses for young people, then Theo Gavrielides‟ (2012) edited volume, Rights & Restoration within Youth Justice is a must read. It makes an important contribution to youth justice. 1) It bridges a growing divide between...

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