Restoring Community

Aerial photo by James Jones (Puggles) at Flickr Creative CommonsAerial photo of University of Florida campus by James Jones (Puggles) at Flickr Creative CommonsBrianna Donet of WUFT, National Public Radio from the University of Florida, reports, "Restorative justice is gaining popularity among college campuses, including at the University of Florida." The report continues:

Restorative justice practices are providing new avenues for describing justice and addressing law violations, Chris Loschiavo, Assistant Dean of Students, and Director of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution, said. These practices focus on the needs of the victims, the offenders and the community, instead of simply working to punish the offender, he said.

“It’s a different philosophical look at crimes and violations of rules, with the focus being on the community and repair of harm to the community,” Loschiavo said. “That, to me, is what the definition of restorative justice is … which is why we often talk about restorative practices rather than as a program specifically. There’s a lot of ways to implement it.”

Loschiavo relates a case where a student stole items from another student's car:

It was revealed in a restorative session that the offender sold the stolen goods to support a drug habit. At the end of the talk, the two students hugged.

“To me, what that demonstrated was that she actually has more closure because she knows what his intentions were,” Loschiavo said.

The restorative session welcomed him back into the community, he said. “As it turns out, he never did re-offend, and he has since graduated from the university.”

Listen to the report, which is just under three minutes.

[audio http://www.wuft.org/news/files/2013/10/Restorative-Justice-FINAL.mp3]