Community and Family

  • Congratulations to IIRP alumna Mary Ellen Mannix, for her recent online radio interview, in which she explains James's Project – According to the web site,  Mannix's son "James was diagnosed prenatally with a minor congenital heart defect. Despite this advantage he lost his life at eleven days of age due to a variety of preventable medical errors and poor communication in his medical care."

    Now Mannix has launched James's Project, the mission of which "is to find, support and help work that protects infants in their first year of life. James’s Project aims to reduce infant mortality by focusing on patient safety isssues that affect the start of


  • Illustration from Cooperative GrocerHere's a lovely article by Jennifer Crain for Cooperative Grocer, a trade publication for food cooperatives in North America, about a food market in Olympia Washington that operates on consensus and "decided to revamp its staff accountability" to "include the adoption of restorative practices."

    Before the Olympia Food Co-op became a two-store operation with over 80 staff members, resolving internal conflicts was a direct but mostly informal process. If a conflict arose, such


  • From Nova Studios web site:

  • Vidia Negrea, Director of CSF HungaryFrom a new eForum article by Vidia Negrea, Director of Community Service Foundation of Hungary, and IIRP affiliate, about a restorative process used in the transition process for releasing a prisoner who had committed murder:

    The first phase of a three-phase intervention plan involved preparing and running a circle meeting with János and his family to prepare for his temporary release. This hybrid restorative circle came out of my experience with FGDM


  • The Week of November 13, 2011 Is Restorative Justice Week

    According to this piece, "'Re-visioning Justice,' the theme for this year's Restorative Justice Week... calls upon Canadians to envision how a restorative justice approach can be applied and implemented within a broader social justice context. It is a challenge to those who work in the health care, educational, justice, correctional and all other systems and/or levels of government, to be creative and innovative in looking at 'justice' through a restorative justice lens."

    A National Restorative Justice Symposium will take place in Kamloops, British Columbia, November 13-15, 2011.

    For an up to date google news search of Restorative Justice Week Canada related events click ...

  • Circle discussion at Endeavor High SchoolAs Hull Centre for Restorative Practice in the UK just completed its Restorative Practice Conference, I'll offer a look back at this eForum story by Laura Mirsky from two years ago reporting on the city's progress toward its goal of becoming the world's first restorative city.

    Hull, UK, led by the Hull Centre for Restorative Practices (HCRP) and the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP), is endeavoring to become a


  • A Family Satisfied with FGDM, from the Famly Voices Video

    IIRP's sister organization and model restorative practices program, Community Service Foundation (CSF) is a nonprofit organization serving delinquent and dependent youth in eastern Pennsylvania since 1977. Recently, CSF completed this report on its FGDM program, which is highlighted on American Humane's "What's New" in FGDM


  • Dr. Carol Thomas, IIRP Assistant ProfessorIIRP Assistant Professor Dr. Carol Thomas recently had an article published in The Prevention Researcher entitled "Supporting the Grieving Adolescent: An Interview with a 21st Century Perspective." Thomas introduced the interview by writing:

    As individuals enter adolescence, they are confronted with a plethora of changes that occur all at once. Not only are they undergoing significant physical, emotional, and cognitive changes; they also grapple with developing a sense of independence and autonomy, struggle with the pressures of social


  • Ted Wachtel's keynote from the 2011 European Congress on the Family Group Conference: Democratizing Help and Welfare in Utrecht, the Netherlands, October 19-21, 2011:

    Restorative Practices: Creating a Unified Strategy for Democratizing Social Care, Education and Criminal Justice

    I’d like to tell you about the first Family Group Conference story that I ever heard. I heard it in 1994 from an Australian police officer named Terry O’Connell. Terry was traveling around the world on a Winston Churchill Fellowship and he came to where I live in the U.S., in Pennsylvania. When he told this story I was deeply moved. It touched my heart. So much so that Terry said he remembered me because I was the person sitting in


  • Ted Wachtel, IIRP PresidentIIRP President Ted Wachtel will be presenting and delivering keynotes at three major conferences in Europe within two weeks during late October and the beginning of November. The general aim of his talks will be to encourage practitioners to associate themselves and connect with the larger international restorative practices movement.

    In Utrecht, the Netherlands, from October 19 to October 21, 2011, the European congress on the Family Group Conference (FGC, also called Family Group Decision Making or FGDM in North America) will


  • Over the next week Dignity in Schools, with whom IIRP has collaborated in the past, now presents a week of action:

    Throughout the week of October 1-8, 2011, thousands of parents, youth, and educators will participate in student-led actions and events in 27 cities to expose the school pushout crisis in our nation and advocate for the human right of every young person to a quality education and to be treated with dignity. The events and actions will include street theater, public forums, rallies, restorative justice trainings, and more.

    The Dignity in Schools Campaign’s National Week of Action brings together organizations and individuals from 13 states to call for an end to zero tolerance policies, for the


  • Lynette Parker has written up a nice concise piece about her recent trip to Bulgaria. Parker works with Prison Fellowship national organizations in the development of justice reform initiatives and programs. She writes:

    The guiding philosophy behind the project is that children and their families are capable of solving their own problems and all those affected by a crime or harmful behaviour should be included in the response. It incorporates various services such as mentoring, support groups for parents of at-risk children, counselling, and restorative conferencing – both with victims and to address family issues.

    Considering the role of the entire community in responding to the needs of at-risk youth, PF Bulgaria created a civil network of


  • RJC Launches Practitioners RegisterThis is exciting news from the UK – the creation of a register for restorative practitioners and the launching of a quality control structure. The Restorative Justice Council(RJC) "Practitioner Register" for the first time gives restorative practitioners professional recognition for their work. It has a very broad focus, open to practitioners in education, social care, criminal justice and community-based agencies as well as practitioners using these skills in their workplace. Based on the


  • Shannon Pakura, former Chief Social Worker of New ZealandAs I begin to work on a training resource manual about Family Group Decision Making (aka Family Group Conferencing), which will be a part in the growing library of small practical book on various aspects of restorative practices IIRP publishes, I'm finding a great deal of pleasure tapping in the IIRP on-line library for source material. I was so struck by a talk by Shannon Pakura, former Chief Social Worker of New Zealand, that I thought I'd


  • By Laura Mirsky, Joshua Wachtel

    At the IIRP’s first participatory symposium: Turning The Tide: Bringing Restorative Practices to Schools, Organizations, Workplaces and Communities, 42 professionals came together to share and strategize about how to implement and sustain restorative practices in a wide range of settings. The symposium, held August 2-4, 2011, at the IIRP Graduate School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA, was also an opportunity for 14 students to earn graduate credit, doing additional online work.

    Five keynote speakers presented — all restorative practices implementation leaders — each inspiring lively discussion. Participants contributed input regarding the remainder of the agenda, in what IIRP president Ted Wachtel called a self-organizing “open space technology conference.”

    The first keynote speaker, Joseph Roy, is superintendent of the Bethlehem Area School District (15,000 students in 22 schools), which is planning


  • Since I hadn't actually been in Halifax for the International Conference in June, I passed along my blog entry about John Braithwaite's keynote to a few people who had been there, including Terry O'Connell. Terry happened to be at the Singapore Conference with Braithwaite when I emailed him so he showed John my post which I had derived from a PDF outline which is now posted on the IIRP web site. According to Terry, Braithwaite replied by saying that "whilst his name is John that he is not prepared to admit to being the 'John' who spoke at Halifax." He also asked that I say


  • Back in 2008, the IIRP eForum ran a two-part story: New Colorado Law Authorizes Restorative Justice Conferences for Adjudicated Youth: Part 1  & Part 2. In the US, Colorado has been on the cutting edge in terms of giving offenders and victims options to participate in RJ conferences, and this article profiled a variety of programs around the state.

    Now, Colorado has enacted a new law (PDF) which broadens the application of RJ for youth, grants greater rights for


  • Here's an anecdote from Terry Whitfield, a Youth Coordinator with Partnership for Youth in Detroit, Michigan. 48 young people, ages 14-18, that are performing Community YouthMapping in all 5 zip codes in Southwest Detroit. They are identifying and interviewing about opportunities for young people ages 11-18 in the community.  The total group is broken down into 5 groups of 8-10 youth per team, with a field supervisor assigned to each team.

    On one team the field supervisor was having issues of insubordination with one of the youth staff. One day John (not his real name) was confronted by the field supervisor about constant cell phone usage during work hours. During this initial conversation John refused to comply with the supervisor’s request, and going so far as to be verbally dismissive of the field supervisor and using profanity toward him. The same day


  • I'll be letting everyone here know when new articles have been posted to our eForum, IIRP's online newsletter, which now hosts literally hundreds of articles about restorative practices around the world. This is a huge resource, which is fully searchable.

    New Two Part Article

    Throughout Latin America there are growing efforts to confront the social consequences of poverty and violence. Restorative practices provides an outlook that is appealing to many who are working to bring people together to resolve problems and transform the nature of society.

    This two-part article by Joshua Wachtel discusses how individuals in Latin America are implementing restorative practices in their organizations, schools and communities. Part One discusses Nicaragua, Panama and Colombia. Part Two talks about Mexico and Peru and references work in Brazil.


    This is part of one of an article on how individuals in Latin America are implementing restorative practices in their organizations, schools and communities. Part one discusses Nicaragua, Panama and Colombia. Part two talks about Mexico and Peru and references work in Brazil.

    There are now two IIRP affiliates in Latin America: the Central American Center for Restorative Practices (Centro de Prácticas Restaurativas para Centroamerica), headquartered in Costa Rica — website:, headed by Miguel Tello; and the Latin American Institute for Restorative Practices (Instituto Latino Americano de Prácticas Restaurativas), headquartered in Peru — website:, headed by Jean Schmitz. The IIRP is moving toward translating all of its trainings,