Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice announces spring webinar series

Eastern Mennonite UniversityThe Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice is a program of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University.

The Zehr Institute advocates for restorative justice as a social movement, and is also a convener of spaces where knowledge about restorative justice practices and programs can be shared among practitioners and learners, by facilitating conversations and cultivating connections through activities such as conferences, webinars and both in-person and online courses.

Jan. 22: Beyond Circles and Conferences – Everyday Restorative Justice Practices in PK-12

Restorative justice in education (RJE) has the potential to promote a positive school culture that facilitates healthy relationships, strengthens learning and teaching, prevents challenging behaviors, and increases student motivation. In this webinar, we will consider school-based practices that align with restorative values and principles and that facilitate these types of restorative shifts in school culture. Attention will be given to everyday practices that promote relational pedagogies, justice and equity, and the transformational potential of conflict within relationships between and among students, faculty, staff, families, and the community. Further, RJE will be considered as an integrated approach, potentially linked to other school-based initiatives, rather than as an isolated program or intervention.

Feb. 19: Building Mutual Understanding Between Community and Police

How do you authentically recognize deep, historical trauma of communities, the trauma police face, and work collectively to foster collective responses to violence that are trauma-informed and build out sustainable relationships for healing and prevention of further trauma?

This webinar will discuss Equal Justice USA’s approach to the relationship between community and police in Newark, NJ through “From Trauma to Trust,” a 16-hour training with community members and police to build mutual understanding of trauma. It will explore how deep conversations on historical trauma, and the trauma of officers, can foster trauma-informed responses to violence that are community-driven and reduce harm for those most vulnerable and marginalized.

March 18: The Little Book of Restorative Teaching Tools – A Virtual Book Launch

As restorative practices spread around the world, scholars and practitioners have begun to ask very important questions: How should restorative practices be taught? What educational structures and methods are in alignment with restorative values and principles? The Little Book of Restorative Teaching Tools introduces games as an effective and dynamic tool to teach restorative justice practices. Grounded in an understanding of restorative pedagogy and experiential learning strategies, the games included in this book provide a way for learners to experience and more deeply understand restorative practices while building relationships and improving skills.

This webinar will introduce participants to the central concepts of the book and will encourage conversation about how we can achieve greater creativity and philosophical alignment in the teaching of restorative practices across contexts.

April 15: RJ Practices and Values in State Legislation

What does restorative justice legislation look like across the United States? Traditionally conceived as a social service adjunct to public systems to address the needs of victims, restorative justice has increasingly been operationalized into multiple stages of formal legal processes. This is represented in diverse forms of restorative practices utilized from diversion to post-sentencing. Drawing on an original 50-state dataset (state statutes, court rules and regulations), the presenters will discuss general findings, key trends, and potential limitations of restorative justice legislation specific to the juvenile and criminal justice systems. They will also highlight emerging areas, including ethical and constitutional considerations. Their research is part of a larger project that seeks to increase public awareness, provide technical assistance to policymakers, communities and individuals, and reconcile restorative values and principles with the formalization into state law.


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