Restoring Community

These articles were formerly posted on our Restorative Works website.

In this video, Keisha Martinez, a music therapist and adjunct lecturer at the University of the West Indies, discusses what she enjoyed most in her classes at the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) Graduate School.

Michael J. Gilbert, Ph.D., is dedicated to changing society by bringing together professionals in the fields of restorative and community justice who seek to repair harm and relationships and restore the safety of communities.

He has been executive director of the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice (NACRJ) since its founding in 2013 and a professor of criminal justice for nearly 50 years. Now associate professor of criminal justice at the University of Texas at San Antonio, Dr. Gilbert has collaborated for more than 10 years to help build NACRJ, a national nonprofit membership association for those working to cultivate a more humane and effective alternative to the dominant, punitive paradigm in criminal justice and related fields. He will present on the NACRJ’s vision, “Toward a Safe, Just, and Equitable Society,” at the 21st IIRP World Conference in October.

IIRP President Dr. John Bailie

In May and June, the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) participated in three important national conversations on major issues facing the nation’s communities, colleges and schools.

“Restorative practices is very much becoming accepted as an emerging social science,” comments IIRP President John Bailie, Ph.D. “Some of the best minds around the country accept that our field has some of the most innovative and promising solutions to civil society’s biggest challenges.”

Kay Pranis discusses a restorative process for how we can heal racial wounds based on an understanding victims' needs. Pranis is a peacemaking circles expert who was a featured presenter at the IIRP Latinoamérica's Conference this June.

Rick Kelly and his studentsRick Kelly, a professor in the Child and Youth Care (CYC) program at George Brown College (Toronto) and an IIRP alumnus, with students Sewsen Ikbu (left) and Amy Taylor at the 19th IIRP World Conference.

Rick Kelly, a professor in the Child and Youth Care (CYC) program at George Brown College (Toronto), has created a hub for restorative practices to support practical learning and social innovation by students at his college. Both students and the local community are benefitting from the hub, which is introducing restorative concepts and solutions to schools and neighborhoods.

IIRP Director of Continuing Education Keith Hickman participated in a panel, Restorative Justice Now, at the Citizen University National Conference: WHO IS US? Race, Citizenship, and America Now, March 18-19, 2016. The discussion revolves around reducing suspensions and discipline disparities for students of color in schools. Hickman widens the context by pointing out how restorative practices build social capital through participatory learning and decision-making for staff and students. These practices hold the potential to transcend school and isolated programs to affect the wider community.

The International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) is embarking on an unprecedented initiative to improve the lives of children and families in Detroit, Michigan, USA. By mobilizing a “whole-neighborhood” approach, individuals will be active stewards of their community. The goal of the program, “Toward a Restorative City: Focus on Schools and Sustainability for the City of Detroit,” is to embed restorative practices in neighborhoods, schools and systems. The Skillman Foundation is underwriting a multi-year grant in support, beginning with $250,000 for 2016.

John BraithwaiteIn this guest blog, Professor John Braithwaite, who leads the Peacebuilding Compared project and is the founder of RegNet School of Regulation and Global Governance at the Australian National University, discusses the parallels between Motivational Interviewing and restorative practices and describes a framework for understanding why these approaches work.

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Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a collaborative, restorative dialogue process that supports people in identifying their goals and achieving positive changes in their lives. Practitioners in a wide range of settings — including juvenile justice, drug and alcohol recovery, health care, education and the workplace — are employing MI to help people discover for themselves what stops them from making progress, so they can move forward.

“It’s all about being authoritative without being judgmental,” says Dawn Schantz, Motivational Interviewing consultant for juvenile justice in the state of Pennsylvania. Instead of giving advice, in MI, the focus is on building rapport, then engaging people in conversations centered on identifying their own intrinsic reasons for wanting to live differently.

ted-wachtelTed Wachtel, founder of the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) Graduate School, who stepped down as IIRP president last summer, has launched a new website, Building a New Reality, as a platform for sharing his ideas about the implications of restorative practices in the areas of politics, governance and economics.

Wachtel says, “I’m doing a new video and text blog about restorative in some new areas that haven’t been discussed so much – restorative implications for politics and economics. I’m really interested in how to build a new reality in those areas. What I want to do is talk about things that are proposed, underway and longstanding that represent new possibilities.”

Wachtel will discuss ideas for revamping democracy to make it more responsive to the people rather than special interests. He also believes that people can reclaim some of the roles that have over time been ceded to government.

Dawn Schantz, Motivational Interviewing consultant for juvenile justice in the state of Pennsylvania, explains how the skill of motivational interviewing can simultaneously hold people to high expectations while also providing high support for helping them internalize their own motivations for change.