What do we want a justice system to accomplish?

The modern judicial system and restorative justice (RJ) both aim to support public peace and safety. But their methods have radically different outcomes. For a quick orientation, check out YRP’s side-by-side comparison. For a deeper understanding of distinctions, let’s start with a brief look at the beginnings of modern RJ. Originating in tribal circles, RJ hasContinue reading “What do we want a justice system to accomplish?”

Chronically Misbehaving Kids Suffer Mental and Social Disease

Published by EducationNews.org — Sometimes these students get a chance to  shake off the ‘bad kid’ self-image.  Too often not. Naturally, Faina Davis, a lawyer and head of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY), would have a happy-ish story about what happens when troubled kids connect with adults who practice Restorative Justice.  Far more often, kidsContinue reading “Chronically Misbehaving Kids Suffer Mental and Social Disease”

Always Model Kindness, Especially to Children

Published by EducationNews.org — The kindest response to unwanted behavior is to ask good questions. The trim, tall elementary teacher, whom we’ll call Ms. Larch, paused before answering the question that had been posed to everyone in the circle.  Larch was among a group of teachers from all levels in a Restorative Practices (RP) training.  RP, inContinue reading “Always Model Kindness, Especially to Children”

Winning the Discipline Wars Takes Restoration

Published by EducationNews.org — Kicking the kid out doesn’t really hold the kid accountable or teach him how to behave. In Fordham Institute’s weekly Flypaper blog, David Griffith offers a tantalizing hope in a piece called “How to end the discipline wars.”  He asks, “Is there a more annoying manifestation of our political and culturalContinue reading “Winning the Discipline Wars Takes Restoration”

At Last! A Review of Research on Restorative Justice In Schools

Published by EducationNews.org — Early studies of RJ programs in the US show their impact in reducing suspensions and harmful behavior. Local Restorative Practices/Restorative Justice (RP/RJ) initiatives have been starving for research on America’s efforts to implement programs.  The large body of evidence showing the ineffectiveness of punishment doesn’t seem to make an adequately compelling argument for supporting Restoration.  AndContinue reading “At Last! A Review of Research on Restorative Justice In Schools”

Communities Create Their Own Safety; Police Only Help

Published by EducationNews.org — We can fall into the habit of thinking the responsibility for certain problems belongs to someone else. David Karp, who directs Skidmore College’s Project on Restorative Justice, tells this story:  Some time ago, a student, whom we’ll call Sarah, came to class one day visibly upset.  She’d been “harmed,” in the language ofContinue reading “Communities Create Their Own Safety; Police Only Help”

San Antonio’s Restoration Center Weaves a Social-Support Fabric

Published by EducationNews.org — It can be done:  a coherent and effective system for dealing with mental illness. Back in the 1970s, Leon Evans became the director of a community mental health center in San Antonio, Texas.  A social worker by training, Evans knew how to manage organizations that deal with mental illness, keeping afloat often-stressed frontline workersContinue reading “San Antonio’s Restoration Center Weaves a Social-Support Fabric”

Drugs, Drop-outs and Restorative Justice Conferencing

Published by EducationNews.org — When a student knows what she wants, it’s a lot easier to help her get through trouble. The lovely Roxanna, as we’ll call her, sighed heavily as she joined a circle that included a school administrator, two conference facilitators and her very pissed-off dad.  The teacher who had promised to make it couldContinue reading “Drugs, Drop-outs and Restorative Justice Conferencing”

Instead of School Suspensions, Let’s Listen to Kids

Published by EducationNews.org — Kicking out the disruptive kids is convenient.  But what do we, or they, learn from it? Allow me to say right off the top that I believe each out-of-school suspension is a symptom of a mental or social issue.  I’d call them symptoms of disease, but some are more like sniffles. InContinue reading “Instead of School Suspensions, Let’s Listen to Kids”

What If South Carolina’s Body-Slammed Teen Had Been Treated Restoratively?

Published by EducationNews.org — There may be no good excuse for disrupting class, but a punitive response can just exacerbate the problem. Restorative practices are simple tools for handling conflict in ways that maximize the possibility of a happy ending.  The practices are habits of the mind and heart.  So let’s revisit last October’s nasty incident atContinue reading “What If South Carolina’s Body-Slammed Teen Had Been Treated Restoratively?”