Restoring Community

Here's a couple clips from an article reposted in the Seattle Medium by Michael Radcliff entitled "Effective Strategies in the Prevention of Youth Violence." The article plans in a number of cities, but note the paragraph about Detroit's program which employs restorative practices.

Dr. Ben Robertson, Professor of Social Work at Southern University at New Orleans, whose published works include, “Urban Youth and Programs geared to help them Deal with Conflict Fighting and “Attitudes Towards Violence Among Urban Youth,” discussed Cultural Specific Conflict Resolution at a recent seminar on Youth Violence Interventions sponsored by Southern University at New Orleans.

“All too often, young people engage in aggressive behavior because that is the culture,” Dr. Robertson said. “There was a time when kids would fight and be friends afterwards… Today, however, the culture is different, and we need to teach our young people to handle conflict. And it is crucial that we teach kids by middle school to effect a change. Preventing conflict, or conflict resolution should be a required course in school. Parents as well should also be taught these techniques along with effective parenting skills classes.”


 

In Detroit:

The strategic principles as outlined was to increase the use of restorative practices to build a culture of respect, inclusion and accountability among youth in the targeted communities; institute Operation Safe Passages — a new effort led by the Detroit Police Department with other law enforcement and community partners to create in-school alternatives to suspensions and expulsions; renew Operation Cease Fire – the violence “interrupters” of the Operation Cease Fire strategy is an effective tool to eliminate violent acts between crews and gangs; utilize the community prosecutor’s program, a widely recognized program which seeks to resolve neighborhood issues that often cannot be addressed in a traditional prosecutorial format; initiate an aggressive marketing campaign, with an emphasis on the use of social media, which fosters the increased use of nonviolent approaches to conflict resolution, connects youth with programs and services, and raises awareness around youth violence prevention; and finally, partner with entities that will provide transportation to after-school activities and/or employment at little or no cost in order to ensure youth are connected with appropriate services and resources. Finally, explore using Detroit Public Schools as Neighborhood City Halls a couple of days a week to bring resources back to the community.”

Click here to read the full article.

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