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Recent News, Articles & Videos

January Restorative Practices News Roundup

Posted by on Jan 22, 2014 in News Roundup

Schools The New York Times editorialized that “reappraisals are long overdue” when it comes to zero tolerance policies that rely upon suspensions and expulsions of students, while the VERA Institute issued a report showing a generation of zero tolerance in schools has not worked. The Washington Post reports about Virginia students pushing for changes in discipline that would include restorative justice. IIRP President Ted Wachtel contributed to an ongoing discussion in San Francisco (see for example “San Francisco schools need solutions not suspensions” and this excellent long piece from the San Francisco Guardian about the effort to redress racial disparities in disciplinary practices) arguing that restorative...

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Restorative practices shows promise for meeting new national school discipline guidelines

Posted by on Jan 15, 2014 in Schools

On January 8, the U.S. Federal Government issued new guidelines recommending that schools revise their discipline policies to move away from zero tolerance policies, which exclude large numbers of students with suspensions and expulsions, often for minor infractions. Instead the guidelines recommend the use of methods such as restorative practices, which foster positive school climates. A joint effort of the Department of Education and the Department of Justice, these recommendations come in response to numerous studies showing that students of color and students with disabilities are disproportionately impacted by current disciplinary policies, resulting in the creation of what many advocates for change have dubbed a “school-to-prison...

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Toward a restorative Detroit: Transforming relationships in the Motor City

Posted by on Jan 13, 2014 in Article, Featured, Schools

You may download a PDF of this article for your personal use. Detroit, Michigan, USA, can claim some of the highest rates of crime, violence, school expulsion, dropouts and truancy in the country. But as Henry McClendon, a pastor, program officer with the Skillman Foundation and IIRP licensed trainer and board member observed, “We don’t have a crime problem, we have a relationship problem.” To address this problem, McClendon aims to “infuse restorative practices in every major institution in the city, particularly those that touch kids, but adults as well: schools, social work, criminal justice, families and faith communities.” Recognizing that this goal needed an established organization within the city to “carry the ball,” he brought...

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IIRP Europe expands pan-European organization

Posted by on Jan 8, 2014 in Featured, Video

With nearly 20 years experience in the UK and Ireland plus affiliates and associates throughout Europe, IIRP Europe (formerly IIRP UK & Ireland) is poised to increase offerings across the continent for training, graduate education and research into restorative practices. IIRP Europe CEO Les Davey said, “Working with our colleague Vidia Negrea in Hungary (IIRP Europe, Director for Central Europe), we are looking to bring together existing associates of the IIRP in Sweden, the Netherlands, the UK and Ireland, plus new colleagues we’re starting to develop relationships with elsewhere in Europe, in such a way that people can go to one source to find out what restorative practices is about and what’s available in their area.”...

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Video: Progress on the road to restore the Motor City

Posted by on Dec 18, 2013 in Community, Video

Henry McClendon, a pastor, program officer with the Skillman Foundation and IIRP licensed trainer and board member, delivered this talk at the IIRP’s 16th World Conference in October, 2013, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA. View “Henry McClendon: Progress on the Road to Restorative the Motor City” on YouTube.

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CSF Buxmont teachers engage students in learning with restorative practices

Posted by on Dec 12, 2013 in Model Program, Schools

CSF and Buxmont Academy teachers are engaging and involving students in learning by using restorative practices to teach academic subjects. Chris Boretskii, coordinator of the CSF Buxmont Pottstown School, talks about Pottstown’s social studies teacher, Michael Packard, as an example. “His classes are almost exclusively taught in a circle,” says Chris. This makes it an expectation that every student will contribute. Students are engaged to participate this way in discussions of current events and history. “We don’t allow kids to be invisible,” adds Chris. “Everyone has to participate and be verbal. This creates confidence and boosts kids’ self-esteem, which can’t help but improve their academic performance.”...

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UK Ministry of Justice allocates 29 million pounds for restorative justice

Posted by on Nov 21, 2013 in Justice

According to a number of reports in the UK, including this one from the Belfast Telegraph: At least £29 million will be made available over the next three years for restorative justice – the process of bringing those whose lives have been ruined by crime or conflict together with those responsible for the harm. A recent study by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) linked the conferencing process with a 14% cut in re-offending, while 85% of victims who took part said they were satisfied with the experience. … For the remaining six months of the current financial year, £5 million has been provided for restorative justice, of which £3.85 million will be distributed to PCCs. A further £10 million is earmarked for 2014-15 and at least...

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IIRP President Ted Wachtel to co-teach first fully online “gateway” course

Posted by on Nov 20, 2013 in Featured, IIRP Graduate School

“Restorative Practices: The Promise and the Challenge,” a new graduate course from the International Institute for Restorative Practices, will be offered for the first time during the Spring 2014 term. This elective course (RP 506) is the first IIRP offering that will be completely online with no pre-requisites. IIRP Founder and President Ted Wachtel, who will co-teach the class, said, “I’m excited about the opportunity to produce a really fun, interactive course that engages people in thinking and talking about restorative practices from anywhere in the world. For all of our other beginning courses people have to attend something. There are so many people that have contacted us that want to take a course but aren’t in a position to...

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Building strong school communities with restorative practices in San Francisco

Posted by on Nov 19, 2013 in Schools

Jan Chien, of San Francisco local public radio KALW, reports on restorative practices at Harvey Milk Elementary School: In addition to the whole-school circle in the morning, each class has its own daily community circle. Every classroom has a carpeted area where students and teachers sit on the floor to share their thoughts or feelings. In Marisa Martinez’s 3rd grade class, students pass a small stuffed panda around the circle, to mark who has the floor. Today they’re talking about people or animals that have passed on. A boy in a hooded sweatshirt says, “One person who I would like to celebrate is my grandmother – my mom’s mom. She passed away last year, and I want to celebrate her. She was really nice to me.” Another boy says he wants...

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Video: Restorative practices in faith communities: Panel from 16th World Conference

Posted by on Nov 18, 2013 in Canada, Faith Communities, Video

This video includes the entire plenary session from day three of the IIRP’s 16th World Conference on the topic of restorative practices in faith communities. Bruce Schenk, director of IIRP Canada, moderated the panel. The panelists included: Mark Vander Vennen (minute 15:00), executive director of the Shalem Mental Health Network, IIRP-certified facilitator and trainer and a proponent of restorative justice since 1982. Anne Martin (minute 21:50), director of Restorative Practice Services at Shalem Mental Heath Network in Hamilton, ON, Canada, whose work includes developing Shalem’s restorative practices network and providing RP services for schools and faith communities through FaithCARE (Faith Communities Affirming Restorative...

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