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Recent News, Articles & Videos

Restorative justice bill introduced in Massachusetts

Posted by on Aug 8, 2013 in Justice

Pierre R. Berastaín, a student at Harvard Divinity School and co-founder of the Massachusetts Restorative Justice Collaborative, writes today on his Huffington Post blog: While restorative justice programs continue to sprout throughout the state, no law has helped promote or endorse any of them. This legislative session, however, State Sen. Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton) has introduced Senate Bill 52, an act promoting restorative justice practices. If it goes into law, the act would not only give legislative recognition and legitimacy to restorative practices, but it would also establish a committee to assess programs in the state as well as make recommendations for future programming. This committee would bring together a range of...

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Retired Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice discusses RJ in Belgium, advocates more research in U.S.

Posted by on Aug 7, 2013 in Justice

Janine P. Geske, retired Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court and Distinguished Professor of Law at Marquette University Law School, recently spent time as a Visiting Professor in Restorative Justice at Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. She has written two blog posts for Wisconsin Restorative Justice Coalition inspired by her time abroad. In the first piece, she discusses the framework for national implementation of restorative justice (mostly mediation) processes in Belgium. In the second second, she suggests ways American researchers and advocates could learn from their European colleagues. (Thanks to IIRP’s Wisconsin affiliate, Patrice Vossekuil, for forwarding the link.) I have the privilege of serving as a visiting...

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Video: Restorative justice as form of “teen court” in Eugene, Oregon, schools

Posted by on Aug 6, 2013 in Justice, Video

In this video Chip Coker, director of the Center for Dialogue and Resolution in Eugene, Oregon, discusses using restorative conferences in schools instead of either punitive discipline procedures or what is called a “teen court” structure. The conference structure Coker describes sounds very much like a Real Justice conference in terms of the questions raised, the involvement of victims and the focus on how to repair the harm. Additionally, this application, where youth in the school are integrally involved in giving feedback and also providing support for a student in a discipline situation, reminds me of what happens in a CSF Buxmont school (the demonstration projects of the IIRP) every day. In these schools, at-risk youth...

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“Stop and frisk” policies increase youth crime, study shows

Posted by on Aug 2, 2013 in Justice

Stop and frisk policing, according to a new study, “stirs up, rather than deters, youth crime,” according to an article in Time magazine. The following, by Nicole Flatow, published by the Center for American Progress, succinctly summarizes that article and the finding of the report: Students who are stopped by police are more likely to later engage in delinquent activity, according to a new study in the journal Crime & Delinquency. Researchers at the University of Missouri at St. Louis followed about 2,600 students participating in gang-prevention programs in seven different cities over the course of seven years. They subjected some students to random police stops, even when they hadn’t done anything wrong, some to stops...

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Teacher from Costa Rica passionate about restorative practices

Posted by on Aug 1, 2013 in Schools

When the teachers at Country Day School, an American private school in Costa Rica, were trained in restorative practices several years ago, Veronika Marenco, a third grade teacher at the time, knew she had found something really useful. She started the school year with circles for her students to get to know one another, and followed it up every day with daily circles to check in and check out, play games, review math concepts and also address problems between students. A few weeks in, when parents were invited to “Back to School Night,” Veronika even arranged the classroom in a circle of chairs and let parents (and a few children who came along) experience a circle to introduce themselves to one another. The parents liked the...

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Video: Teachers Unite advocates restorative justice

Posted by on Jul 31, 2013 in Schools

Here’s a five-minute “teaser” for a forthcoming documentary from Teachers Unite titled Growing Fairness. The first part of the trailer offers a critique of the so-called school-to-prison pipeline and zero tolerance policies. One quote that stuck out for me was researcher and organizer Natalie Havlin saying: “What’s really exciting about this moment is that nationally – in Louisiana, in Colorado, in New York City, in  Los Angeles, in San Francisco, in Chicago, in Detroit – local school communities and young people, parents, educators and administrators are coming together to say that zero tolerance doesn’t work and experimenting with these alternative practices to address interpersonal harm and building justice for...

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Book Review: Restorative justice today: Practical applications

Posted by on Jul 30, 2013 in Justice

Eric Assur at Restorative Justice Online has just posted a book review on Restorative Justice Today: Practical Applications, edited by Katherine S. van Wormer and Lorenn Walker. As I mentioned last fall, this book includes a chapter co-written by IIRP President Ted Wachtel and another written by IIRP Assistant Director for Communications Laura Mirsky. Over the past thirty years the number of books or publications on Restorative Justice (R.J.) has increased annually. In 2013 justice practitioners, students and conflict resolution (or conflict prevention) readers may proclaim this publication as their book of the year. The authors, both with interesting backgrounds and academic credentials have provided a ‘practical’ look at the current...

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Creative practice: Restorative justice through art

Posted by on Jul 25, 2013 in Justice

The following is the beginning of a piece by Rachel Barnard posted July 17 in Urban Omnibus titled “Young New Yorkers: Restorative Justice Through Public Art.” The wide-angle lens captures the flickering of a fan overhead and the outstretched leg of a small child sitting just out of frame. It is summer in New York and Isaiah’s grandmother is sitting on a quilted day bed that has been pushed up against a wooden partition and partially obstructs the entrance to her kitchen. Her left leg is neatly curled under her right; her left arm props herself up on the bed’s surface. Her head, framed by long braids, leans intently forward. She speaks directly into the camera her grandson is holding: I was sad because it’s not like you...

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Video: Family Group Decision Making: A mother’s perspective

Posted by on Jul 24, 2013 in Families, Video

This beautifully animated short film walks through a Family Group Decision Making conference (FGDM, also known as a Family Group Conference) from the point of view of a mother at risk of losing her children. Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs (Bufdir) is the Norwegian governmental office for the welfare and protection of children and families. This video is also available in Norwegian and Russian. Watch a similar video about family group conferences from a child’s perspective. Find information about IIRP’s Family Power...

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“Dreaming of a New Reality”: Chapter 1

Posted by on Jul 22, 2013 in Article, Featured

This article is an excerpt from IIRP president and founder Ted Wachtel’s new book, Dreaming of a New Reality: How restorative practices reduce crime and violence, improve relationships and strengthen civil society, published by the International Institute for Restorative Practices, in association with the Piper’s Press. Through stories and statistics, the book demonstrates the promise of restorative practices to heal victims, prevent bullying, curb conflict, reduce school disciplinary problems and boost workplace satisfaction and productivity. It also outlines the history and development of this growing social movement, as well as a vision for its future.

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