“Restorative justice very simply is a philosophy that supports a sense of belonging, (a) positive sense of community”- Dale Pyke
This week is Restorative Justice week which follows closely Bullying Awareness Week. Thank you to my pal who gave me the heads-up, as I might have not even realized! So, in order to celebrate, I want to do a quick shout-out to some good work that is happening in the field of restorative Justice/practice:
Western Quebec- At our two schools, the primary driver of Restorative Practice is my friend and colleague, Ellie Wilkinson. Ellie was the person who got me interested in the process and has spearheaded a Restorative Practice committee within our schools this year. Ellie has helped our two schools become part of the Peaceful School International, has given a lot of PD to our school and school board, runs parent nights discussing Restorative Practice and she is the leading facilitator of restorative circles and conferences of varying levels of intensity within both schools. Ellie works in the middle school as a guidance counsellor and runs a leadership class at the highschool which teaches students the process of Restorative Practice and Peer mediation. These leadership students have been introduced them to Youcan and are given a chance to run assemblies and put their ‘leadership’ skills into practice. Our administration team has also been fundamental to embedding Restorative Practice into our discipline policies and use Restorative Practice with all the students they work with. I am very lucky to work where I do!!
Bethlehem, Pennylsvania- Home of the International Institute for Restorative Practices- A Graduate School. IIRP offers graduate degrees and professional development training opportunities whose aim aim, as suggested by Albert Einstein in a speech in 1936, “is the training of independently acting and thinking individuals who, however, see in the service of the community their highest life problem.” In the 1970′s, Ted Wachtel and his wife, Susan, founded the model Restorative practice Buxmont Academy (CSF Buxmont), a non-profit organization for troubled and delinquent youth in eastern Pennsylvania, USA. In 2000, Wachtel founded the IIRP, a non-profit organization that now includes Real Justice, SaferSanerSchools, Good Company and Family Power. IIRP is a leading global provider of restorative practices training, consulting, educational materials and international conferences. Ted Wachtel is a great speaker and it is inspirational what he has accomplished! “To reduce the growing negative subculture among youth, to successfully prevent crime and to accomplish meaningful and lasting change, restorative justice must be perceived as a social movement dedicated to making restorative practices integral to daily life.” Wachtel, 1999
Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board, Ontario-The first school school district in Ontario to embrace restorative practice in all its schools- all administrators, police representatives and many teachers have been trained with the 2 day Real Justice Training. When I heard representatives from this board speak at the Toronto Conference, they shared how 4 of the high schools had conducted two full-day restorative practice intensive workshops for all grade nine students and had all grade 9 English classes in those schools doing a two-week unit focusing on restorative practice. KPRDSCB- Restorative Practice Introduction
Hamilton, Ontario- 3 years ago, through an Ontario Trillium Grant, the partnership using restorative practice began with the John Howard Society, Hamilton police and the Hamilton public school board. Now the Hamilton Catholic School Board and the City’s recreation department is included. This fall, staff in almost 95 schools, all police youth and school officers and John Howard Society workers have been trained in Restorative Practice. Restorative justice is described as an option whereby, if recommended by the police or the Crown, the perpetrator of a crime can get together in a circle with the victim and the community and collectively decide on a punishment. Since the project started 130 circles have been held and out of the 213 youths who went through some sort of diversion program, 91% have not reoffended. ”We want kids to take ownership, have empathy, build relationships and trust,” says Pyke, co-ordinator of the local John Howard Society’s restorative justice project. Community, police turn to Restorative Justice
Hull, England- is endeavouring to become a “restorative city”. The goal is for everyone who works with children and youth in Hull, one of England’s most economically and socially deprived cities, to employ restorative practices. Hull began their Restorative journey in August 2007. Participants are committed to implementing “an explicit means of managing relationships and building social connection and responsibility while providing a forum for repairing harm when relationships break down.” Hull held the most recent International Institute for Restorative Practices conference this fall where the most current efforts were discussed. Hull, UK: Toward a Restorative City Restorative Practices in Hull (Youtube trailer)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil- in the mid-1990′s,after a visit to Brazil, a self-educated Restorative Justice practitioner from England called Dominic Barter began working with favela (shantytowns) residents, including drug gang members, to help them strengthen nonviolent options for working with young people. He became a colleague of Marshall Rosenberg, founder of the Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC), which studies how people use their power to create partnership and cooperation, “emphasizing compassion as the motivation for action rather than fear, guilt, blame, coercion, threat or the justification of punishment” (www.cnvc.org). In early 2005, he helped organize the country’s first public presentation on restorative practices, at the Brazil-based annual World Social Forum. Now a permanent resident of Brazil, he is developing a conferencing model supported by the Ministry of Justice and training facilitators for two of three new pilot projects, in São Paulo and Porto Alegre. He is a powerful speaker and I was lucky enough to see him speak at the IIRP conference in Toronto. “I saw violence as a monologue. All the state and gang responses to violence were more of the same. I wanted to create a dialogue” (Barter). Toward Peace and Justice in Brazil: Dominic Barter and Restorative Circles With the recent troubles in Rio favelas, it will be interesting if Barter is brought in to help work with the communities.
Defining Restorative Practice:
The emerging social science of “restorative practices” offers a common thread to tie together theory, research and practice in seemingly disparate fields, such as education, counseling, criminal justice, social work and organizational management.
The restorative practices concept has its roots in “restorative justice,” a new way of looking at criminal justice that focuses on repairing the harm done to people and relationships rather than on punishing offenders (although restorative justice does not preclude incarceration of offenders or other sanctions). Originating in the 1970s as mediation between victims and offenders, in the 1990s restorative justice broadened to include communities of care as well, with victims’ and offenders’ families and friends participating in collaborative processes called “conferences” and “circles.” (For a useful summary of restorative justice theory, go to http://www.realjustice.org/library/paradigm.html.) iirp.orgPosted: November 26th, 2010 in In the news, Restorative Practice | 2 Comments »