Restoring Community

Marie-Isabelle Pautz, an IIRP One-Year FastTrack Master’s Degree candidate in RestorativePractices and Youth Counseling, is seeing wonderful resultsimplementing restorative practices in a preschool. This articleincludes excerpts from a paper written for her YC/ED 510, ProfessionalLearning Group (PLG) Seminar: Restorative Project.

 

Marie-Isabelle Pautz is a One-Year FastTrack Master’s Degree candidate in Restorative Practices and Youth Counseling at the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP). For her YC/ED 510, Professional Learning Group (PLG) Seminar: Restorative Project, she is implementing restorative practices in a preschool. Before attending the IIRP, Marie-Isabelle worked with Turning Point Partners in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, introducing restorative practices to schools, youth court and juvenile detention centers. She also facilitated restorative conferences in schools and codirected a homeless shelter in Rochester, New York, USA. The following are excerpts from her IIRP PLG report.

I am a part-time assistant teacher at a preschool in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA. I’m instituting restorative practices with our 13-pupil class  of four-year-olds. “Restorative” means participation by everyone affected by decisions, widening the circle, building social capital, separating the deed from the doer, and a focus on responsibilities and effects of actions, rather than blaming and labeling (Zehr, 1990; Wachtel & McCold, 2000).

We have a very healthy school with a few problems, such as disputes about sharing, turns to lead or speak and place in line, as well as exclusion, class disruption, complaining, arguing, running indoors, throwing, pushing and unsafe behavior. Assets include low pupil-teacher ratio and small class and school size.

All children- and youth-serving professionals in this UK city are being trained in restorative practices, with highly positive results. This article by Laura Mirsky includes interviews with education, criminal justice and social service professionals.

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 physical regeneration without social regeneration.” His strategy is to “invest disproportionately in children and young people now,” with restorative practices (RP) at the core.

Hull’s RP scheme officially began in August 2007. Participants are committed to implementing “an explicit means of managing relationships and building social connection and responsibility while providing a forum for repairing harm when relationships break down.”

This article by Joshua Wachtel analyzes the fourth and final report in a series sponsored by the British Home Office. This research provided evidence that face-to-face restorative justice conferences both reduce crime and provide a cost saving to government.

In July 2008 criminologists at the University of Sheffield, UK, issued their fourth and final report on a major research initiative launched in 2001 by the British Home Office to examine the effects of restorative justice (RJ) for adults and youth. The report marks the culmination of more than seven years of planning and work involving the collaboration of government, academia, social service agencies, and police and criminal justice institutions, including probation, courts and prisons.

(The University of Sheffield has also published three previous reports on different aspects of these research studies: Implementing restorative justice schemes, 2004, http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs04/rdsolr3204.pdf; Restorative justice in practice, 2006, http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs06/r274.pdf; and Restorative justice: the views of victims and offenders, 2007, http://www.justice.gov.uk/docs/Restorative-Justice.pdf.)

The findings of the fourth report, Does restorative justice affect reconviction?, 2008, http://www.justice.gov.uk/restorative-justice-report_06-08.pdf, show that face-to-face RJ conferences both reduce crime and provide a cost saving to government. The report “focuses on one of the key original aims of the Home Office funding, whether restorative justice ‘works,’ in the sense of reducing the likelihood of re-offending and for whom it ‘works’ in this way. It also covers whether the schemes were value for money, measured as whether the cost of running the scheme was balanced or outweighed by the benefit of less re-offending” (Shapland et al., 2008, p. i).

View papers from the 11th IIRP World Conference, held October 22-24, 2008 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

This paper by Lorenn Walker and Leslie A. Hayashi describes a program in Hawai''i that provides three different restorative justice practices, combined with a "solution-focused approach." The program was conceived and has been implemented by the nonprofit Hawai''i Friends of Civic and Law Related Education, in collaboration with the District Court of the First Circuit in Honolulu, Hawai''i.

Terry O’Connell, director of Real Justice Australia (a division of the IIRP) and developer of what is now the Real Justice restorative conference model was awarded an honorary doctorate by Australian Catholic University. His speech offered his reflections on his years of involvement with restorative practices, along with insights into the reasons for the effectiveness of the practices.

Terry O''Connell, director of Real Justice Australia (a division of the IIRP) and developer of what is now the Real Justice restorative conference model was awarded an honorary doctorate by Australian Catholic University. His speech offered his reflections on his years of involvement with restorative practices, along with insights into the reasons for the effectiveness of the practices.