A national coalition of advocates for restorative justice, a strategy that brings offenders together with victims in the spirit of reconciliation, will host a webinar this Wednesday to discuss how to effectively hire youth work professionals for jobs in the restorative sector, particularly for school-based programs.
“Creating a restorative school includes hiring and cultivating staff who believe in and accept this philosophy,” said the Denver School-Based Restorative Practices Partnership, in an email announcing the online event. “Ensuring this can begin in the interview process by asking about candidates’ approaches to relationship-building, resolving conflicts and addressing behavior.”
Restorative justice programs are often used as a diversion or alternative to incarceration. Generally, a youth is required to admit guilt, discuss the offense with people it affected, and work out a plan to account for his or her actions. Among the most visible restorative programs in the country are the “community conferencing” models employed in Oakland, Calif., and Baltimore.
Caren Harp, who heads the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention for the Trump administration, has supported restorative justice models as part of a continuum called “community prosecution.”
Despite its Denver roots, the partnership is a national coalition that includes organizations such as The Advancement Project, the National Education Association and Padres & Jóvenes Unidos.”
Denver’s implementation of restorative programs in schools has been associated with a massive decrease in school suspensions. Denver Public Schools suspended about 11,000 of its 70,000 students in 2006. By 2017, with 92,000 students, the system suspended just 4,500 students.
The webinar is scheduled for 6 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, and is free to join. Click here to register.