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A project of the Restorative Practices Foundation

Recent News, Articles & Videos

Fairfax, Virginia, developing restorative practices in schools, juvenile justice & policing

Posted by on Oct 3, 2013 in Justice, Schools

Poised between the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and Washington D.C., Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), is a progressive and diverse school system on the edge of change. FCPS has initiated a system wide implementation of restorative justice processes in our schools which aims to transform how the FCPS community handles harm and wrongdoing. Several schools in this 200+ school system, the 11th largest in the country, have been exploring the use of restorative justice since 2004 to respond to discipline issues through pilot programs at two large high schools and various trainings for staff. In 2011, Vickie Shoap, a veteran RJ facilitator in Virginia’s criminal justice system, was hired to develop and manage a system-wide RJ...

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Video: How parents can use restorative questions

Posted by on Oct 2, 2013 in Families, Video

This video was produced in Australia and posted by Vic and Elizabeth O’Callaghan, who work with Terry O’Connell of Real Justice Australia. It is aimed to show parents some of the potential of restorative questions for use at home with their own children. The 3-minute video includes an interview with a parent and observations of children themselves. Watch “RP Parent Video” at YouTube. Read “The Mackillop Model of Restorative Practice” by Elizabeth O’Callaghan, a paper presented at IIRP’s Sixth International Conference, in IIRP’s eForum...

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Alternative justice pilot program rolled out in Seattle, Washington

Posted by on Sep 30, 2013 in Justice

Bryan Cohen, writing at Capitol Hill Seattle Blog, reports on a new program to be piloted shortly in Seattle, Washington, to keep low-level offenders out of the criminal justice system. Andrea Brenneke, who was involved in organizing a restorative circle for a high profile case involving the murder of a Native American carver by a Seattle policemen, will serve as director of the City of Seattle’s new Restorative Justice Initiative. Cohen quotes Stephanie Tschida, president of the East Precinct Advisory Council, who said: “It’s a good idea for some of these residents who deal with a log of ongoing drug dealing and loitering. It could be more constructive avenue to people voicing similar concerns over and over again.” Cohen also...

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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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