There are several initiatives now underway in Washtenaw County to use restorative justice in criminal harm and in community conflict. Restorative justice provides effective alternatives to incarceration, contributes to healing individuals and communities, and builds stronger and better relationships.
With this educational series FoRJ continues to promote the use of, and build support for, restorative justice so that individuals will know to ask for it and officials will have the political will to move forward, rather than succumb to the temptation of reverting to the status quo.
In this light, in conjunction with The Dispute Resolution Center and the Michigan Collaborative to End Mass Incarceration, we offer the public and professionals this series of educational programs.
The first event, A Conversation with Seema Gajwani, held via Zoom on April 7th, 2022
Ms. Gajwani is the Special Council for Juvenile Justice Reform and Chief of the Restorative Justice Section at the Washington, D.C. Office of the Attorney General.
— Recording of the entire Webinar https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XMYvnKWEY4 [01:23:46]
— Clip of section on Seema’s journey from restorative justice skeptic to enthusiast (from 4:49 to 20:12 in the entire Webinar) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KLt0NUGzBw
— Clip of section on using restorative justice in serious crimes from 19:54 to 22:20 in the entire Webinar) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WCs2cCByQI
The studies that Seema refers to in the 3rd clip are reported here: Strang, Heather, et al, “Restorative Justice Conferencing (RJC) Using Face-to-Face Meetings of Offenders and Victims: Effects on Offender Recidivism and Victim Satisfaction. A Systematic Review”, Campbell Systematic Reviews 2013:12
A Conversation with Robert Burton-Harris, held via Zoom on August 11, 2022
Mr. Burton-Harris is a defense attorney. He has served as a public defender in Wayne County with the Neighborhood Defender Service of Detroit. He has now returned to private practice and is a member of the Washtenaw County Bar Association. This hour-long event can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcM7xhuJcK4.
Intersectionality of Mental Disorders, Incarceration and Restorative Justice, held via Zoom on December 8, 2022
This panel discussion is the third event in the ‘A Case for Restorative Justice’ Education Series. The discussion features Thomas L. Hafemeister, PhD, JD, (retired) University of Virginia School of Law and Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences; Derrick Jackson, Director of Community Engagement, Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office; and Felicia Brabec, Michigan State Representative. The event can be viewed at https://youtu.be/83-C2R9_kqs?t=0.
Restorative Justice in Illinois: State Legislation and Community Court in Cook County, held via Zoom on May 18, 2023
Illinois has relatively new state legislation that ensures victims and offenders have the right to restorative justice. This panel discussion focuses on the use of restorative justice under the new law in Cook County, Illinois. The guests are The Honorable Patricia Spratt of the Cook County North Lawndale Restorative Justice Community Court and Attorney Patrick Keenan-Devlin, Executive Director of the James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy. The discussion is moderated by Washtenaw County Circuit Judge Patrick Conlin. A recording of this event, the fourth in the ‘A Case for Restorative Justice’ Education Series, can be viewed in the Friends of Restorative Justice YouTube channel.
Expanding the Vision of Restorative Justice with Fred Van Liew, held via Zoom on February 8, 2024
Fred Van Liew spoke on “Expanding the Vision of Restorative Justice”. Many of you may know Fred from earlier days of Friends of Restorative Justice. As former prosecutor in Des Moines Iowa, Fred was a pioneer in the work of restorative justice. These days he works in different parts of the country looking at how these restorative practices can be used to address all levels of crime. He helped shape and inspire Friends of Restorative Justice and helped bring restorative justice to the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office. A video recording of the discussion can be found at the Friends of Restorative Justice YouTube channel.