Greetings from Day Two of the IIRP's 15th World Conference, "Building a Worldwide Restorative Practices Learning Network."
Vidia Negrea, director of CSF Hungary and Victim Support Psychologist, Hungarian Ministry of Justice, presented the day's first plenary session, Family Group Conferencing/Family Group Decision Making as a Transition from Prison in Hungary Negrea discussed how she has been using FGC/FGDM with prisoners and their families throughout Hungary. She described how and why it works, defining it as a collaborative process between professionals and families that balances the need for security with the need for maintaining family ties. FGC/FGDM, she said, empowers families to make decisions based on their own strengths and resources; creates a safe place to deal with needs and feelings (past and present) and develops collaboration between the family network and the community.
Steve Korr, an instructor at the IIRP Graduate School, presented the day's second plenary session, Whole-school Change through Restorative Practices. He spoke about the challenges he has encountered regarding restorative practices implementation as he has brought the practices to schools across the U.S. and the world. The most important thing to remember, he said, is to trust the kids. Do we really believe that kids are capable of growing, learning and changing? Circles are not just another way to control kids. You need to have "fearless positive regard" for kids, even the ones who habitually misbehave and cause the most serious problems. And you have to believe the same thing of staff, in terms of their potential for change.
Conference participants then split up to attend the many breakout sessions on offer for the rest of the day.