Conference weighs options for systemic approach
Oct 25, 2010
From the article in the talking piece, newsletter of Partners in Restorative Initiatives:
Community leaders came together at the Next Steps Conference at City Hall on Saturday, September 18th  to discuss how restorative practices are already affecting our community – and to explore avenues for expanding those practices in a systemic way. Close to 60 people participated in the conference, which was the final offering of the Restorative Rochester Week events.
...“It was an opportunity to gather people interested in the project and its purpose to hear from leaders about the potential of restorative practices in Rochester,” said Kit Miller, Director of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence.
...Vicki Ramos, Principal of James Monroe High School, shared a presentation that included quotes from students participating in the Restore Monroe Youth Student Leadership Program about the effects restorative practices have had at their school.
“When I first came to Monroe, it was like no one cared,” one student said. “Things have gradually changed; there are less fights and the halls are cleaner.”
...The Schools Session identified key elements in school environments that could be positively impacted by restorative practices, such as feelings of empowerment, safety, belonging, respect, ownership and community. In the Courts Session, participants said the restorative justice could be effective in resolving conflicts, increasing victim satisfaction and decreasing offender recidivism. The Community Session set goals including the creation of dedicated rooms for circles and conferences within communities and supporting motivation and education among community members. They also noted the need to acknowledge and respond to the traditional culture and how community members relate to conflict within that culture.
...Education stood out as a central need for future progress. Posters and handouts for community members, educational pamphlets for judges, forming contact with and giving presentations to local organizations were listed as important next steps, as well as restorative training at all levels. Other next steps included increased funding, proactive planning and dedicated restorative spaces in libraries.
Read the full article (pages 5 and 6 of the PDF).