Restorative justice for everyone: An innovative program and case study from Turners Falls High School in Massachusetts
from the article by David Bulley and Thom Osborne:
Restorative Justice generally exists as an alternative to traditional discipline. In most schools a student who acts out will be referred to the assistant principal or to the dean of students who then makes a determination: Is the student a candidate for restorative justice or should they be disciplined the traditional way of detentions or suspensions? Often this includes a choice by the student. In fact, as part of most restorative conferences, the perpetrator is informed that participation is voluntary and that at any time they can opt out and subject themselves to traditional justice. One problem with this system is that too many students welcome an out of school suspension.
Restorative group conferencing and sexting: Repairing harm in Wright County
from the article by Nancy Riestenberg:
Three years ago, in a middle school in Wright County, Minnesota, students discovered sexually explicit pictures of a student on the cell phone of her boyfriend. The students ran to the bathroom with the cell phone and sent the pictures on to eight other students. By the time the adults in the school discovered them, many student cell phones had received the pictures. The administration asked the school resource officer from the Sheriff’s Office to investigate. Potentially many students could be charged with sending or receiving sexually explicit pictures of a minor, a felony offense. What was the County Attorney going to do?
San Francisco’s El Dorado Elementary uses trauma-informed & restorative practices; suspensions drop 89%
from the article in Social Justice Solutions:
For one young student – let’s call him Martin — the 2012-2013 school year at El Dorado Elementary in the Visitacion Valley neighborhood of San Francisco was a tough one, recalls Joyce Dorado, director of UCSF HEARTS — Healthy Environments and Response to Trauma in Schools.
“He was hurting himself in the classroom, kicking the teacher, just blowing out of class many times a week.” There was good reason. The five-year-old was exposed to chronic violence and suffered traumatic losses. His explosions were normal reactions to events that overwhelmed him.
Restorative Circles program builds empathy, conflict resolution skills in middle school students
from the article on Rapid Growth:
Rather than punishing and shaming students for disruptive behavior, a pilot program called Restorative Circles aims to help them explore what happened, reflect on their role, and restore harmony to relationships and in the larger school community.
The program at Wyoming’s Godfrey Lee Middle School launched last fall as a new outreach of the Dispute Resolution Center of West Michigan, a local nonprofit with the mission of helping people to solve their differences peacefully and constructively using a trained mediator. The center reached out to Godfrey Lee to administer the two-year pilot program, which is being funded through several grants.
Restorative discipline program in San Antonio middle school reduces student suspensions
from the article on the University of Texas at Austin website:
A San Antonio middle school with some of the highest discipline rates in its district has experienced an 84 percent drop in off-campus suspensions during the past year since administrators began using “restorative discipline” as an alternative to “zero tolerance” to deal with conflicts among students.
A restorative way to minimize crime
from the article in the Capitol Hill Times:
After months of headlines about the recent street robberies on Capitol Hill, Andrea Brenneke of Compassionate Seattle is hoping to change how justice is viewed in Seattle’s East Precinct. Rather than turning to strictly punitive measures, Brenneke and the SPD are now beginning a pilot program of Mayor McGinn’s Restorative Justice Initiative in the precinct, which constitutes the Capitol Hill, First Hill, and Central District neighborhoods, and aims to combat crime by bridging the gap between offenders and victims.
NIH to fund first randomized controlled trials for restorative practices in 16 Maine schools
from the article on Restorative Works:
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.
Approaching juvenile crime head on
From the article by Leila day:
When people get into trouble with the law, they normally don’t have a chance to have a conversation with their victims. To explain what happened. Hear about the damage they caused. Say they’re sorry. But there’s a growing trend to try and make that happen, so both parties can move on.
Restorative Justice brings together the accused, the victim, supportive parties, and authorities. All at the same table in a safe space. It’s an old idea and it’s international. In fact, in New Zealand, where it was originally used by indigenous Maoris, it's a mandatory part of the criminal justice system. Here, in the U.S, these community conferences are increasingly being used in prisons, schools and as an alternative to juvenile detention.
A Philadelphia School's Big Bet on Nonviolence
from the article by Jeff Deeney in The Atlantic:
Last year when American Paradigm Schools took over Philadelphia's infamous, failing John Paul Jones Middle School, they did something a lot of people would find inconceivable. The school was known as "Jones Jail" for its reputation of violence and disorder, and because the building physically resembled a youth correctional facility. Situated in the Kensington section of the city, it drew students from the heart of a desperately poor hub of injection drug users and street level prostitution where gun violence rates are off the charts. But rather than beef up the already heavy security to ensure safety and restore order, American Paradigm stripped it away. During renovations, they removed the metal detectors and barred windows.
The police predicted chaos. But instead, new numbers seem to show that in a single year, the number of serious incidents fell by 90%.
Vision 21: Transforming victim services. Final report
from the report released by the Office for Victims of Crime:
...The discussions that formed the basis for Vision 21 demonstrated that only a truly comprehensive and far-reaching approach would achieve the vast changes needed to move the field forward. Stakeholders saw that a holistic approach to victims’ needs is essential but will require unprecedented collaboration among service providers, an ongoing challenge for the field.