• Screen Shot 2013-09-18 at 9.05.37 AMRAND Corporation, in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health, is embarking on a randomized controlled study to measure the effectiveness of restorative practices in influencing school environments and decreasing problem behaviors.

    The five-year project begins its first year with a planning phase. RAND will coordinate with the International Institute for Restorative Practices and its licensee, the Restorative Justice Project of the Midcoast, based in Belfast, Maine, to deliver restorative practices training to the study group of seven middle schools. These schools will implement restorative practices whole-school change beginning in school year 2014-15.

  • The research referenced in this article, "The Promise of Restorative Practices to Transform Teacher-Student Relationships and Achieve Equity in School Discipline," has since been published in theJournal of Educational and Psychological Consultation. Read the abstract and purchase the report.


    Department of EducationOn January 8, the U.S. Federal Government issued new guidelines recommending that schools revise their discipline policies to move away from zero tolerance policies, which exclude large numbers of students with suspensions and expulsions, often for minor infractions. Instead the guidelines recommend the use of methods such as restorative practices, which foster positive school climates. A joint effort of the Department of Education and the Department of Justice, these recommendations come in response to numerous studies showing that students of color and students with disabilities are disproportionately impacted by current disciplinary policies, resulting in the creation of what many advocates for change have dubbed a “school-to-prison pipeline.”

  • restorative circlePhoto by Tup Wanders at Flickr Creative Commons.The International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) is pleased to announce a partnership with the Center for Social Organization of Schools at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education to conduct a three-year randomized field trial evaluation of the IIRP’s SaferSanerSchools Whole-School Change Program. The study will establish the impact of school-wide restorative practices on reducing disparities in discipline and overall rates of suspensions, arrests and expulsions in high poverty-area middle and high schools that also have significant proportions of students of color.

    This study, supported by a million-dollar grant from The Atlantic Philanthropies, aims to build the evidence base of restorative practices as an effective alternative to zero tolerance. During the three-year study period, 15 middle and high schools in Chicago, Illinois; Los Angeles, California; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Boston, Massachusetts; Washington, D.C.; Brooklyn, New York; San Antonio, Texas; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, will receive school-wide restorative practices training and consultation. Uniquely, the study will evaluate the combined and value-added impacts of instituting restorative practices in schools along with Diplomas Now, an ongoing whole-school reform effort that strengthens learning environments and enhances student supports, guided by an early warning system.

  • Students at CSF BuxmontThe restorative environment at Community Service Foundation and Buxmont Academy (CSF Buxmont) schools for at-risk youth enhances the effectiveness of the Aggression Replacement Training® cognitive-behavioral intervention program.

    This is why the Aggression Replacement Training program is more effective with youth at CSF schools than with other Pennsylvania youth, theorizes CSF Buxmont Executive Director, Dr. Craig Adamson. “At CSF Buxmont schools, students are surrounded by a supportive treatment model that includes counseling and peer support, which creates many opportunities — all day long — to enrich what students are learning in the Aggression Replacement Training program,” says Dr. Adamson.

  • BorbalaFellegi_photoThe IIRP welcomes Borbála Fellegi, Ph.D., who will join the IIRP faculty in July 2015 as lecturer. A resident of Budapest, Hungary, Borbála is a researcher, mediator, conference and peacemaking-circle facilitator, as well as a trainer and lecturer in restorative justice, restorative practices and mediation. She has published widely.

    Currently, Borbála provides training and lectures at five universities. Her numerous publications include articles and book chapters, as well as the book Towards Restoration and Peace, a comprehensive study of restorative justice implementation in Hungary.

  • On April 22 Pittsburgh Public Schools officials announced their plan to implement the IIRP's SaferSanerSchools Whole-School Change program in 23 schools "to improve learning and reduce suspensions," as reported in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "The schools will be part of a research project funded by a $3 million [U.S.] Justice Department grant... ."

    During a press conference held at Minadeo PreK-5 in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood, officials focused on how restorative practices can help end the school-to-prison pipeline.

    David Hickton, U.S. Attorney for Western Pennsylvania, said, "If we don’t do this, if we only have a hammer, suspended students go from at-risk to drop outs and can quickly wind up on my desk. We need to produce students and graduates rather than defendants and convicts," according to the New Pittsburgh Courier.

  • JirgaThe borderlands of Pakistan and Afghanistan are a dangerous and violent place. But it is here that a student of restorative justice, Ali Gohar, founder of Just Peace Initiatives, based in Peshawar, Pakistan, has worked to reinvigorate and reinvent traditional conflict resolution practices.

    In this tribal region, inhabited largely by ethnic Pukhtoon, wrongdoing can spiral into cycles of vengeance. Family feuds can last for generations. For instance, nearly 60 years after the event, a man avenged his father’s murder by in turn killing the original murderer’s grandson. Revenge killings continued back and forth between the two families until a total of a dozen people were dead. Without the intervention of the jirga – a tribal council “organized by wise, respectable, greybeard elders whose decision is unanimous, acceptable to all community members” (Gohar, n.d.) – the cycle of violence would have continued. The jirga sent representatives to each family and convinced them to end the feud “for the sake of God” with no blood money exchanging hands (Lofton, 2015).

  • PPS staffThis school year, Pittsburgh, PA, Public Schools (PPS) are set to launch the largest restorative practices Whole-School Change program ever undertaken, with 22 elementary, middle and high schools participating.

    The U.S. Department of Justice has provided $3 million of funding for the district’s Pursuing Equitable Restorative Communities (PERC) project. The grant will pay to implement the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) SaferSanerSchools Whole-School Change program, a comprehensive two-year school implementation model. It will also provide for the RAND Corporation to measure the effectiveness of restorative practices in the 22-school "treatment group" against a "control group" of 22 other schools in PPS that will not participate in the program.

  • CoRRListen to the first episode of Restorative Conversations, a new podcast by the Community of Restorative Researchers (CoRR).

    Ian Marder, founder of CoRR, interviews Dr. John Bailie and Ted Wachtel, the current and former presidents of the International Institute for Restorative Practices Graduate School during their recent visit to Kortrik, Belgium.

    Topics covered during the discussion include Bailie and Wachtel's backgrounds, the work of the IIRP in training and implementing restorative practice in schools, universities and criminal justice, and the future of restorative practice as a social movement and a new social science.

  • CoRRListen to the second episode of Restorative Conversations, a new podcast by the Community of Restorative Researchers (CoRR).

    Ian Marder, founder of CoRR, interviews Andrew Hancock, Restorative Justice Coordinator for Darlington, UK (North East England), and Stephen Twist, a barrister and restorative practitioner in Darlington. They talk about the growth of restorative justice in Darlington in recent years, the development of the Darlington Restorative Justice Hub (formerly Darlington Neighbourhood Resolution), the recruitment, training and supervision of volunteer facilitators and the differences between practicing law and practicing restorative justice.

  • logoListen to the third episode of Restorative Conversations, the podcast of the Community of Restorative Researchers (CoRR).

  • 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.

  • fernanda rosenblattThe IIRP Graduate School is proud to announce the creation of a Thesis Option for students and alumni of our Master of Science in Restorative Practices. The thesis option provides an opportunity to conduct and publish research in the restorative practices field.

    To help facilitate the program, IIRP Assistant Professor Fernanda Fonseca-Rosenblatt, Ph.D., has been named a faculty member and will serve as Faculty Advisor for students choosing the thesis option.

    “For the past three years I have been an adjunct professor at the IIRP,” says Dr. Rosenblatt. “We have so many great students who are not just interested in studying and research but who are working in the field every day. With the thesis option, we are giving them a platform where they can show the world what they are doing and actually contribute to the field, not just theoretically but in practice.”