Community and Family

  • This is part of two of an article on how individuals in Latin America are implementing restorative practices in their organizations, schools and communities. There are now two IIRP affiliatesPart 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


  • Este texto es la primera parte de un artículo que trata de cómo los individuos en América Latina están implementando las prácticas restaurativas dentro de sus organizaciones, escuelas y comunidades. La primera parte se enfoca en los esfuerzos que se están realizando en Nicaragua, Panamá y Colombia. La segunda parte [enlace] describe lo que está pasando en México y Perú y hace referencia al trabajo que se está haciendo en Brasil.

    Ahora contamos con dos afiliados al IIRP en Latino América: el Centro de Prácticas Restaurativas para Centroamerica, ubicado en Costa Rica - página web: - dirigido por Miguel Tello; y el Instituto Latino Americano de Prácticas Restaurativas, ubicado en Perú - página web:


  • Este texto es la segunda parte de un artículo sobre cómo los individuos en América Latina están implementando las prácticas restaurativas dentro de sus organizaciones, centros educativos y comunidades. Ahora contamos con dos afiliados al IIRP. La primera parte [enlace] se enfoca en los esfuerzos que se están realizando en Nicaragua, Panamá y Colombia. La segunda parte describe lo que está pasando en México y Perú y menciona el trabajo que se está haciendo en Brasil.

    Ahora contamos con dos afiliados al IIRP en Latino América: el Centro de Prácticas Restaurativas para Centroamérica, ubicado en Costa Rica -


  • By Laura Mirsky
    The fourth commencement of the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) Graduate School, on June 25th, 2011, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA, was a little different from the past three. At 35 graduates, the number of students had grown progressively larger than those in the preceding years, as had the overflow crowd of 230-plus family and friends. More significant, perhaps, just two days before, on June 23rd, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education1 granted the IIRP official accreditation status.

     The fourth class of master’s degree


  • There's now a page on the IIRP web site listing all the presentations from the recent world conference. We'll be presenting a weekly series here focusing on papers that have been submitted and linked to this page. In this first installment, it's John Braithwaite's keynote, in which he spoke in general terms about restorative justice, restorative practices, restorative living and related issues.

    Braithwaite says that Restorative Justice is about dialogue, active responsibility, healing, building relationships, building human capabilities and prevention of future injustices. However, he argues that while RJ is reluctant


  • By Joshua Wachtel

    On March 15, 2011, the Netherlands Parliament voted unanimously to amend the Child Protection Act. The Act now grants parents or guardians of a child the right to meet with family and other involved friends or close family supporters to make their own plan regarding how to care for a child of concern. The right to meet and make a plan for a child comes as a first recourse before the state and courts are permitted to intervene.

    Rob van Pagée, director of Eigen Kracht Centrale, a nonprofit organization that led lobbying efforts for the law said, “We see this as a validation for the rights of citizens.”

    Eigen Kracht Centrale’s family group conference (FGC) model is based on the New Zealand model, which was encoded in law as a first resort for Maori and Pakeha children in 1989. Eigen Kracht, meaning “our strength” or “our power,” introduced family group conferencing to the Netherlands in 2001 and has since trained over 500 paid


  • By Laura Mirsky, Mary Shafer

    InRestorative Collaboration: The Nova Scotia Restorative Justice Program (, Jennifer Llewellyn, professor of law at Halifax’s Dalhousie University and director of the Nova Scotia Restorative Justice Community University Research Alliance (NSRJ-CURA), described the foundations of the province’s restorative justice program. (The paper was delivered at the 2009 IIRP World Conference, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA.) This article focuses on how the restorative approach is being implemented in school and community settings within the province.

    In its twelfth year, Restorative Justice Nova Scotia (NSRJ) shows promising results in schools and communities, through a vibrant partnership between government and the


  • By Joshua Wachtel

    “At first I didn’t comprehend what had happened.” Jordan Humble, a student and resident advisor (RA) at the University of Vermont (UVM), left his lab on October 18, 2010, around 7:30 p.m. and learned from text and voice messages that something terrible had happened on his residence hall floor. He made his way home to discover that a student had been found dead on his floor and that police and emergency personnel were already on-site. Only students directly involved in finding the young man’s body were allowed to remain in the building. Humble joined them while they waited to be interviewed by a detective.

    “I wanted to get a feel of where everyone was at emotionally," said Humble. “I asked them what they had been talking about and what steps they had gone through. It became a coping session until I could tell people had had enough of it. Then I directed it to a more free-flowing atmosphere. I brought in games, we made paper


  • Nigel RichardsonIn Hull we are working towards becoming the world’s first restorative city. We know this is a bold ambition and the challenges ahead are significant, but we believe this is the best and most effective way of working together with children, families, schools and communities. Like many other communities who are using restorative practices (RP) we have learnt a great a deal and are witnessing some outstanding results. We have also experienced many struggles and challenges and still have a long way to go. To help us we have received some first-class support and guidance from the IIRP and from other friends and colleagues from around the world.

    Hull is


  • From Chicago, Illinois, USA, a police officer looking for effective alternatives to school suspension and the court system for delinquent young people

    From New York City, USA, a high school social worker researching restorative practices as a way to build school community and improve student behavior

    From San Francisco, California, USA, the director of a new prison dorm for war veterans hoping to learn restorative solutions for inmates

    From São Paolo, Brazil, a community trainer working in the most violent urban neighborhoods refining her knowledge of restorative techniques

    From Canberra, ACT, Australia, an education graduate student seeking ways to engage pupils

    From Twin Falls, Idaho, USA, a juvenile corrections district liaison hoping to learn how to spread restorative practices statewide

    From Louisville, Kentucky, USA, a teachers’ union representative checking out restorative practices on behalf of his school


  • IIRP Class of 2010With friends and family looking on, 19 women and men received their degrees in restorative practices from the IIRP Graduate School, at the joyous commencement ceremony on June 19, 2010, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA. Jill K. Dreibelbis, Eileen V. Hovey, Marlene Karen Ruby and Kate Burns Spokas Shapero received the Master of Restorative Practices and Education, and Roxanne Atterholt, Stacey Ann Bean, Christi L.Blank, Mardochee T. Casimir, Julia Maye Malloy, Sharon L. Mast, Ann Phoebe Moyer, Lynette Vineis Reed, Tami Beth Ritter, Mary Schott, Michele Wertz Snyder, John Douglas Tocado, Kelly L. Trzaska, Paul Jeffrey Werrell and Melinda Lappin


  • The Sanctuary Model is a non-hierarchical, highly participatory, “trauma-informed and evidence-supported” operating system for human services organizations, which helps them function in a humane, democratic and socially responsible manner and thereby provide effective treatment for clients in a clinical setting. The model is entirely congruent with restorative practices, in that it is about workingwith people instead of doing thingsto them orfor


  • The Gordon family (names are fictitious), of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, USA, recently experienced a life-affirming restorative process — a family group decision-making (FGDM) conference (also called family group conferencing or FGC). The family (four young adult children — two boys and two girls — their divorced parents, Linda and Bob, as well as several members of their extended family) came together in an FGDM conference to help 17-year-old son Sam take better control of his life. The process worked extremely well for Sam, but what the family didn’t expect, they said, was that the FGDM would also enhance their connections and relationships in many other ways.

    During the past year, Sam started using drugs and alcohol, hanging out with fellow “users” in school and buying and selling marijuana. He had trouble sharing his feelings, had problems with self-esteem and, according to his father, started making rash decisions and looking for instant gratification. “My


  • On October 21-23, 2009, nearly three hundred education, social service, criminal justice professionals and others from 15 countries and 18 U.S. states met in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA, for the 12th IIRP World Conference, “Restoring Community in a Disconnected World, Part 2.”

    Besides the plenary sessions, the conference consisted of participants sharing their work in “breakout” sessions. All plenary-session and many breakout-session papers are on our website, here.

    Intellectually stimulating and soul-nourishing, the conference was a celebration of restorative practices created by everyone who attended, whether or not they presented a session. Coverage of the plenary sessions and a random selection of breakout sessions follows:

  • Ana Bermudez, director of juvenile justice programs for The Children’s Aid Society of New York City, works with youth from some of the city’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods. When she started with Children’s Aid in 2007, Bermudez knew that a restorative approach would be critical, and she has infused the practices throughout the initiatives she oversees, saying, “I was not going to run any of the programs here without a restorative focus.”

    Each year, Children’s Aid serves 150,000 children and families at locations throughout the city, providing services ranging from job training and academic support to health care and family counseling. Bermudez heads the agency’s Lasting Investments in Neighborhood Connections (LINC) program, which helps formerly incarcerated youth transition back to their community. She also supervises the Next Generation Center in the South Bronx, a LINC site


  • Family group decision making (FGDM), known in New Zealand, the UK and Europe as family group conferencing or FGC, is proving to be a beneficial restorative practice to help reintegrate prison inmates back into society. This article addresses restorative FGDM/FGC programs in prisons in Adams County, Pennsylvania, USA, and in Hungary.

    Beginning in New Zealand in 1989 in the youth justice and child welfare systems, FGDM/FGC operates according to the premise that the direct involvement of a family group works better to solve a family’s issues than the efforts of professionals alone to solve those issues for people. A key ingredient of an FGDM meeting is “Family Alone Time,” when the family group is left alone, without professionals in the room, to devise plans to solve their own issues. These plans are then evaluated by professionals for legal and safety concerns.

  • In 2004 the Brazilian Ministry of Justice received a small UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) grant to launch the country’s first official restorative justice (RJ) pilot projects. Recognizing the unique social context of urban violence in Brazil, the projects brought together school administrators, judges, court workers, prison authorities, social service agencies and local community leaders to create a broad restorative response to the most challenging breakdowns in community safety. While justly known for their creative celebration of life, Brazilians also live with glaring wealth imbalances and the normalization of violence: Murder is the principle cause of death for people under 25.

    In Rio de Janeiro, 20 percent of the population lives in crowded favela shantytowns — improvised communities of cramped, shoddy, multi-story houses. Drug gangs are the city’s


  • Hull, UK, led by the Hull Centre for Restorative Practices (HCRP) and the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP), is endeavoring 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.

    Nigel Richardson, Hull’s director of Children and Young People’s Services, is leading the restorative initiative. Hull- — population 250,000, with 57,000 children — had a thriving fishing industry that disappeared several generations ago, and the city failed to regenerate itself economically, said Richardson, resulting in “low aspirations and self-esteem, and a high proportion of people living below the poverty line.” Hull invested heavily to rebuild housing, the city center and secondary schools. But, said Richardson, “There’s no point in


  • Youth participate in a restorative circle at Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center, in Golden, Colorado, U.S.A.

    It’s no accident that Colorado is the first U.S. state to mandate that judges advise adjudicated youth of the possibility of participating in restorative justice (RJ) conferences or other programs if they become involved in the criminal justice system. (See Part 1 of this article to learn more about Colorado House Bill 08-1117, which legislated this mandate.) For more than 10 years, Colorado communities, schools, nonprofits, RJ


  • A plenary speech on day one of the conference, photography by Dávid VadóczBorbála Fellegi is a Ph.D. researcher at Eötvös Loránd (ELTE) University, Budapest, Hungary, in the field of social policy and criminology, with a special focus on the potential of restorative justice in criminal matters. She authored this report after attending the 10th IIRP International Conference.

    “Participation, responsibility-taking, communication, community, caring, restoration, understanding, acceptance” –these concepts were the focus of the three-day long conference organized by the International Institute for Restorative Practices in cooperation with the Community Service