Community and Family

  • sad-girlA recent piece in EdWeek by Sarah Sparks discusses brain research that demonstrates the devastating long-term effects of childhood adversity.

    The IIRP is offering professional development to deal with this issue, in events titled "Restorative Responses to Grief, Trauma and Adversity." Upcoming locations include the Denver area, New York City and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

    Here are some selections from that article:

    While educators and psychologists have said for decades that the effects of poverty interfere with students' academic achievement, new evidence from cognitive and neuroscience is showing exactly how adversity in childhood damages students' long-term learning and health.

  • Photo by Mike Fisher at Flickr Creative Commons - The photographer notes in his comment: "The juxtaposition of the flag with this sculpture of an Indian made me think of Black Kettle, who was a Southern Cheyenne Indian chief. Black Kettle's people were camped on the Sand Creek Reservation in southeast Colorado in 1864 when a group of Colorado militia men attacked them. Black Kettle had often counseled peace with the white men and flew an American flag from his tipi. The soldiers attacked in spite of the flag and killed as many as 150 of Black Kettle's people. Black Kettle himself escaped across the creek, only to be killed a few years later in the Battle of the Washita River in


  • Nigel Richardson, Leeds City Council director of children's services

    The project of Hull, UK to become a restorative city has since spread to nearby city of Leeds. Both projects will be highlighted Thursday and Friday, November 8 & 9 at a conference put on by Hull Centre for Restorative Practice, "A Tale of Two Restorative


  • This week's "Sunday Video" comes from Colorado, which hosted its 1st statewide Restorative Justice summit in August. Dominic Barter and Peter Block were keynote speakers. But this six-minute video also demonstrates the open space format used to generate active participation from all attendees.

    For another perspective on the summit, there's an episode – 47 minutes – of the Unitive Justice by Sylvia Clute podcast. Clute attended the summit and shares her experience in depth. Click here to listen.

  • Here's from a piece by Ben Byrne in UK's The Guardian. In these first few paragraphs he makes a concise case for Restorative Justice for youth offenders:

    Every local authority is grappling with the challenge of increasing demand for services at a time of severe financial constraint. To meet this challenge we will need new partnerships and new relationships with our residents to help us solve local problems.

    One way to approach this challenge is to put restorative practice at the heart of a local authority's work. Surrey's restorative story started in youth justice and our impressive results mean we have tried to spread the principle across the work of the county council.

  • IIRP President Ted Wachtel will be visiting the Netherlands in early November. He will be leading "An Inspirational Presentation and Dialog" on the subject of "Building a Worldwide Restorative Practices Learning Network" in cooperation with Eigen Kracht Centrale and Restorative Justice Nederland.

    Rob van Pagée and Hedda van Lieshout will present the vision of the independent organization Eigen Kracht Centrale, which asserts that citizens are uniquely able to deal with their own situation, by getting together with others directly affected, to discuss what is happening and to


  • Photo of someone pulling an Andon Cord from NYTimes blog

    Jeffrey Farr, a 2012 IIRP graduate and English teacher at an alternative school using restorative practices, sent me a link to a piece titled "Case In Point: Avoiding Martial Arts Moves by Pulling the Andon Cord." In the subject heading of his email Farr wrote: "RP [restorative practices] by any other name would still be RP . . . " I like this idea of finding relevant connections and


  • photo from the highlands of Papua New Guinea by eGuide Travel at Flickr Creative Commons

    A piece in the magazine Science titled “Turning from War to Peace in Papua New Guinea” (Vol. 337, September 28, 2012) by Elizabeth Culotta describes a recent anthropological paper co-authored by Polly Wiessner of the University of Salt Lake City, who has worked with and studied the Enga people of Papua New Guinea for 25 years, and Nitze Pupu, a blind Enga law school graduate. Wiessner


  • This week's video features Vidia Negrea, director of Community Service Foundation of Hungary, an IIRP international affiliate, delivery her full plenary at IIRP's 15th World Conference on August 2, 2012. The title of her talk was "Family Group Conferencing/Family Group Decision Making as a Transition from Prison in Hungary." Negrea begins by discussing her journey to introduce restorative practices in schools, social work and other areas, and then focuses on her work in prisons and how she has used restorative


  • Power U Center for Social Change is a nonprofit, grassroots organization based in Miami, Florida that, according to its web site, is "FIGHTING for our land, our people, our community; ORGANIZING for justice in our schools and communities; SUPPORTING the struggle of social, environmental, and economic justice." A key program area involves empowering youth to advocate for

  • Opinion: The mounting cost of violence - Rep. Mike Honda -

    From the Wisconsin shooting to the war in Afghanistan, we all know that violence costs our society, whether it’s domestic violence, a homicide, a war, or something as simple as a security system. We also know that there are direct and indirect costs associated with violence, whether it’s the immediate medical, court and police costs that stem from violent crime, or the long-term loss of economic productivity that stems from the loss of an American worker’s life.

  • Sunday videos continue with this piece from the Dignity in Schools Campaign to mark their Annual National Week of Action on School Pushout going on now – September 29 to October 6, 2012.

    To find out how to get involved in the Week of Action, click here.


  • Ted Wachtel's plenary – "Defining Restorative and Building a Worldwide Restorative Practices Learning Network" – from this year's IIRP's 15th World Conference. View the video here.

  • Estelle Macdonald of Hull Centre for Restorative Practice

    Here's a lovely piece by John Maslin from the Wanganui Chronicle about a two-day conference on the subject of Wanganui, New Zealand "re-inventing" itself as a restorative city. Estelle Macdonald, head teacher at Collingwood primary school in Hull and director of Hull Centre for Restorative


  • Here's another great short video from Restorative Justice Colorado. This one looks at a youth crime from a victim's point of view.

    Restorative Justice In Victims Services - YouTube.

  • Here's piece #3 in this continuing series on some of the great workshops I attended at IIRP's 15th World Conference. (I would note that some of the power points from various sessions have been posted on the IIRP web site - click here.)

    Chuck Saufler, who is based in Maine, was a guidance counselor and now trains and consults with schools and communities. His focus, according to his Safe Schools for All

  • I found this very impressive video on YouTube the other day through the Restorative Justice Colorado web site. Officer Greg Ruprecht of the Longmont Police speaks very movingly about the power and potential of restorative justice. He tells the story of the first conference he ran and then discusses how RJ works to prevent repeat offending by teaching people the impact of their actions and giving them an opportunity to take responsibility for their deeds.

    Enjoy when you've got 8 minutes to spend!

    Restorative Justice in Justice Systems - YouTube.

  • Site of September 2012 Conference - Towards a Restorative CityPhoto by Phillip Capper - Flickr Creative CommonsHere's bit of good news by Anne-Marie Emerson from the Wanganui Chronicle. Inspired by the city of Hull, UK, this small city in New Zealand moves toward becoming "restorative" itself. Wanganui is hosting a conference on the


  • Here is the second in a series of pieces about IIRP’s 15th International Conference, Building a Worldwide Learning Network, that took place August 1-3, 2012. I’ll be writing about some of the great sessions I attended, beginning with one titled “Restore with a Smile: The Provocative Approach” presented by Jan and Laurien Ruigrok from the Netherlands.

    As you might be able to tell from the title of this workshop, Jan’s approach was unconventional. When I arrived at the session, everyone was seated in rows of chairs, but once it began the chairs went to the side and the room was turned into a play space. Jan said that Rule #1 of the provocative approach is: “Get yourself into the laughing state.” So when


  • An August 7, 2012 piece, "Researchers Sound Alarm Over Black Student Suspensions," at EdWeek by Nirvi Shah and Lesli A. Maxwell begins:

    Nearly one in six African-American students was suspended from school during the 2009-10 academic year, more than three times the rate of their white peers, a new analysis of federal education data has found.