This booklet, available at www.beyondzerotolerance.org, was issued as part of a campaign by the California (USA) Statewide Task Force for Effective Drug Education. It advocates restorative practices, as implemented by the IIRP''s SaferSanerSchools program, as a critical piece in its approach to drug education.

The Crime and Justice Research Centre, Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand, and the New Zealand Ministry of Justice have released a research evaluation of restorative conferences for juvenile and adult offenders that contains highly positive results. Two-hundred six court-referred conferences, all of which included victim participation (or representation), were evaluated over a one-year period.

By Laura Mirsky
Veronica Hart and two Stanfield Home residentsVeronica Hart and two Stanfield Home residents

 

About four years ago, the Stanfield Home for looked-after children, in Welwyn-Garden City, Hertfordshire, UK, was in crisis. Relationships between staff and children were terrible, and there were many violent incidents, said Stanfield manager Veronica (Ron) Hart. Staff stress was causing big turnover rates and lots of long-term sick leave. Then restorative practices turned things around.

Stanfield consists of two homes, housing six youths each, on one site—one for ages 11-15 and one for ages 13-18 and older. These are youth who can’t live with their family or a substitute (foster) family, due to abuse or neglect, or those with educational, truancy or behavioral problems, placed in the home by county social services.

By Abbey J. Porter

CSF youths visit Neshaminy Manor.It’s Saturday morning, and the residents of Neshaminy Manor nursing home in Warrington, Pennsylvania, USA, know what that means. They walk, wheel and shuffle their way into the home’s activity area to take up their regular stations at tables scattered throughout the room.

It’s time for cardingo.

The cards/bingo hybrid is a favorite among the residents, and today’s game promises to be especially exciting. As on the first Saturday of every month, the residents are joined by special helpers: teen-agers performing community service through the Community Service Foundation (www.csfbuxmont.org) in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, a sister organization of the IIRP. The boys and girls belly up to the tables next to the residents, where they help to shuffle, deal and read cards. Outside, another group of youngsters is busy weeding a garden.

By Laura Mirsky

To view a preview from or to order a copy of Burning Bridges, please go to:
http://store.iirp.edu.

Father and son in Burning BridgesEarly in the morning of June 23, 2004, arson destroyed historic Mood’s Covered Bridge, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, USA. The community was heartbroken at the loss of this beloved landmark, a reminder of more tranquil, simpler times.

When the identity of the arsonists was discovered two months later, the community went into shock again. The six young men who had committed the crime were well known in the area, graduates of the local high school, college students from “good families.” People were outraged by what the young men had done and struggled with how to deal with their anger.

By Nancy Riestenberg

Nancy Riestenberg is a prevention specialist with the Minnesota (USA) Department of Education’s Safe and Healthy Learners Unit. She presents workshops on bullying prevention, restorative practices in schools and school climate.

In a recovery school, the students commit to working on recovery from chemical dependency and addiction while becoming successful students. Since all of the students attending the school have been in chemical dependency treatment, the safety of the environment is the first concern of students, their families and staff. Applying restorative principles and the process of the circle has helped one recovery school create a truly respectful, student-centered program.

PEASE Academy (“Peers Enjoying A Sober Education”), located in a church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was the first recovery high school in the United States, founded in February 1989. During the last several years, through staff training and application, the school has incorporated the circle process and restorative principles into its program. Circles are used on Mondays and Fridays for youth to check in about the highs and lows in their sobriety. All 65 students and about five staff participate in the circles.

By Mary Shafer

When I arrived at the Community Service Foundation’s (CSF) foster girls’ group home in Quakertown, Pennsylvania, USA, houseparent Linda Anschuetz showed me into the dining room. She motioned me to a chair by the table, around which six pairs of teen-age eyes—alternately curious and suspicious—focused on me. Who was this stranger who’d arrived in the midst of their safe, carefully structured environment, and what did I want?

Linda quickly dispelled any misgivings. She told them I was writing about the program and encouraged everyone to introduce themselves and to make me feel welcome. Most of the girls smiled at me. A few looked shy.

Quickly, one of them offered her name and a friendly, “Hi!” The rest, ranging in age from 14 to 17, continued introductions. I detected a range of personality types, from outgoing to withdrawn.

The July 2005 American edition of "Good Housekeeping", one of the top-selling magazines in the U.S., features a story on restorative justice called "Putting Out the Fire." The article tells the story of a family in La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA, whose house was destroyed in a random act of arson by two teenage boys. The article is reprinted here (PDF), with permission.

By Abbey J. Porter

Flags from many nations stand outside the U.N. Crime Congress plenary hall.Restorative justice is playing an increasingly significant role in countries all over the globe, and its influence will likely continue to grow. That message emerged clearly-and in many languages-when people from around the world gathered for the Eleventh United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, held April 18-25, 2005, in Bangkok, Thailand.

The congress established a “new high-water mark” for restorative justice on the U.N. stage, said IIRP Director of Research Paul McCold, who participated in the event and witnessed an unprecedented level of interest in restorative practices.

By Laura Mirsky

Honor student and second-degree black belt in karate Gino LeeFamily group decision making (FGDM, also known as family group conferencing or FGC) has made a big difference in the lives of many families. The story of how FGDM helped one family in Los Angeles County, California, USA, is a textbook example of just how powerful the FGDM process can be. FGDM helped this family ensure the well-being of a child who had fallen through the cracks of the child welfare system. Through an FGDM conference, the child’s extended family was empowered to make a plan for him, and this once troubled boy is now thriving and happy, living with his birth parents.

Not long after Gino Lee was born, his mother, Gina, had a nervous breakdown, and his father, Carl, took her to the hospital. Afraid that Gina might pose a threat to her child, the hospital staff contacted the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

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