By Benjamin Chambers, May 24 2011
The Third National Conference on Restorative Justice will be held in Raleigh, North Carolina, June 8-10, 2011. (Apologies for the short lead-time; I just heard about this from Paul Savery.)
The agenda's full of all kinds of fascinating presentations and workshops -- so many, it has my head spinning. Even better, a surprisingly large number have to do with working with teens, juvenile justice, and the schools.
Here's just two that jumped out at me (I quote from the agenda):
- "No Time to Talk": A Cautiously Optimistic Tale of Restorative Justice and Related Approaches to School Discipline
Restorative justice, applied in significant dosages, may bring positive changes to schools and even impact disciplinary styles. However, practical, theoretical and methodological arguments suggest that restorative justice programs alone are unlikely to have significant impact on the critical suspension or expulsion decision.
Using organizational analogies from well-intended criminal justice reforms, we consider failed efforts in juvenile and criminal justice as cautionary examples of how promising efforts aimed at reducing school suspension may ultimately have little or no impact. The phrase, "no time to talk," illustrates how harmful exclusionary disciplinary decisions (suspension, expulsion) are made with little or no discussion and are instead focused on more immediate and utilitarian concerns.
Optimistically, we suggest that dialogue-driven restorative processes – coupled with whole school approaches grounded in routine activities theory and communal school approaches – may potentially create opportunities for meaningful disciplinary decision-making that improves overall safety within a culture of support and belonging.
["No Time to Talk" will be presented by Gordon Bazemore, Ph.D., and Mara Schiff, Ph.D., both from Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Bazemore just gave an inspirational presentation on restorative justice and positive youth development at the Reclaiming Futures Leadership Institute in Miami last week.]
- Community Conferencing in Inner-City Baltimore: Impact in Juvenile Justice, Schools and Neighborhoods
The Community Conferencing Center in Baltimore has provided Community Conferencing (CC) for over 13 years in neighborhoods, schools, juvenile justice, prisons, and courts. Even in our nation‘s second-most violent city, over 9,000 inner-city residents have safely and effectively resolved their crimes/conflicts using CC. Re-offending is 60% lower than in the juvenile justice system. We view conferencing as being vital and healthy for individuals (biologically, emotionally, spiritually, and socially), communities (building cohesion and collective action), and governments (HIGHLY cost-effective; 1/10th the cost of court). In addition, we provide teachers training in Daily Rap circle process for their classrooms. These easy-to-implement circles have had a dramatic impact on classroom behavior, empathy, self-concept and problem solving skills. We will discuss the principles upon which we ground our work, the lessons we‘ve learned, and powerful stories of healing and wisdom.
["Community Conferencing in Inner-City Baltimore" will be presented by Lauren Abramson, Founder, Executive Director, Community Conferencing Center, Baltimore, MD.]
>>Check out the full agenda (it's packed!).
>>More conference information.
>>Can't make it this year? According to the agenda, a fourth national conference on restorative justice will be held in Toledo, OH in 2013 (not 2012!), though no definite dates have been set.
Photo: Ava Lowery.
Updated: February 08 2018