For over a decade Impact Justice’s Restorative Justice Project has worked with communities across the country to develop pre-charge restorative justice diversion programs that reject the notion that we must criminalize or incarcerate people to address harm. We center the needs of those affected by wrongdoing while taking a strengths-based approach to support those responsible in taking accountability and returning to their best selves. At its core, our model is distinguished by a unique commitment to end the criminalization of people of color and recognize the need for communities, not systems, to create and lead their own processes for responding to and healing from harm.
The launch of this center is especially timely. 2021 presents an unprecedented opportunity to deepen the shift away from punitive approaches towards a paradigm of restorative practices grounded in interdependence, truth telling, and healing. The National Training and Innovation Center for Restorative Justice Diversion meets this need, offering continuous learning and training opportunities for community members, staff members of community-based organizations, system partners, and funders.
While many of our resources have been limited to our site partners, our National Training and Innovation Center for Restorative Justice Diversion will make many of these resources available to a wider audience. Furthermore, we know that a restorative justice paradigm shift encourages space for curiosity, exploration, and deep reflection. To that end, we are excited to invite others to join us in our shared learning and collectively explore new innovations to uncover the roots and grow the power of restorative justice for a healing and hopeful future.
An overview of the resources that will be available include:
- On-demand introductory webinar series to understand the basics of restorative justice and restorative justice diversion
- Access to regional and national convenings to connect and learn from partners working to implement restorative justice diversion
- Curated spaces for specific stakeholders engaged in restorative justice diversion (CBOs, facilitators, system stakeholders, funders, etc.) to build community and participate in shared learning
- The restorative justice diversion toolkit, a step-by-step guide to walk folks through the foundational work of starting a restorative justice diversion program
- Live, in-person trainings for site teams looking to build cohesion and prepare for the launch of restorative justice diversion programs
- Highlights of the growing impact of restorative justice diversion around the country
- Panels and talks to explore the growing intersections of restorative justice and community safety
- Pass the mic: Space to share and showcase a variety of perspectives and expertise related to restorative justice
Given the COVID-19 pandemic, our resources are currently only available online. But as we look to brighter days on the other side of this public health crisis, the center will offer a variety of both virtual and in-person resources for sites and stakeholders looking to implement RJD in their local jurisdiction.
Currently available resources:
Offerings for Everyone
RJD Introductory Webinar Series
What is restorative justice and how does it show up in our communities? This webinar answers these questions and is ideal for those who are new to the concept of restorative justice.
Introduction to Restorative Justice Diversion
This webinar is an introduction to the Restorative Justice Project’s unique model of pre-charge restorative justice diversion. We describe how it works, the core elements of the program, and what kinds of outcomes our pilot sites have seen. This webinar is ideal for those who are already familiar with the concepts of restorative justice and are interested in learning how it can be used to address harm.
The Diversion Toolkit for Communities: An Overview
This webinar is an introduction to the Restorative Justice Project’s restorative justice diversion toolkit. This webinar is for staff of community-based organizations and/or community members who are interested in launching pre-charge restorative justice diversion programs in their communities. Even if you’re already familiar with restorative justice, we strongly recommend watching Introduction to Restorative Justice Diversion prior to this webinar.
YES! Justice Can Look Like…
Restorative Justice Symposium
YES! Justice Can Look Like Safety
In the first panel of our symposium, Jodie Geddies, Tash Nguyen, and Zach Norris explored how restorative justice creates safety in our communities.
YES! Justice Can Look Like Trust
Our second panel explores the relationship between restorative justice and trust with Amore Alvarenga, Patricia Martinez, and Malachi Scott.
YES! Justice Can Look Like Hope
The final conversation with sujatha baliga and Cymone Fuller consider hope and the role of restorative justice in a more liberated future.
Offerings for Educators
Webinar Series with RFK Human Rights
Traditionally, many have understood educators to be people who work in classrooms to pour into young people the information they will need to be productive members of society. The scope of that information has typically been limited to what youth “need” to know, namely science, math, history, and language arts. We believe, however, that being an educator requires much more than simply giving students facts, formulas, and data. Instead, educating includes creating safe spaces for young people to explore, celebrate their differences, learn how to respond to conflict in productive ways, identify and nurture their ability to build healthy relationships and communities, and co-create the world they want to live in. With that definition, the role of educator extends well beyond the traditional classroom and reaches various roles inside and outside of the school building, including leaders, mentors, and community members. Restorative justice, when thoughtfully introduced as an educational tool, can support educators and students in experiencing these non-linear, and arguably more important, aspects of learning. In doing so, it can also help create environments where students are better able to learn and engage with various subject matters as well as form connections that enhance their ability to apply and share learning in community.
Human Rights Education Webinar: Starting at the Roots
The first webinar in the series starts at the roots, laying a foundational understanding of restorative justice principles and values. Through contextualizing this unique time in our country’s journey toward recognizing equity and dignity for all, educators begin to understand the value of integrating restorative practices into formal and non-formal learning environments.
Human Rights Education Webinar: Building a Restorative Space in Your Educational Community
This webinar explores restorative practices in more depth, highlighting the benefits of implementing these practices into the education system and community.
Human Rights Education Webinar: Stories of Human Rights Defenders Impacted by Restorative Justice
This webinar centers the stories of panelists who have been impacted by restorative practices. Through an interactive discussion, human rights defenders from across the US share their perspectives.
Offerings for Community-based Organizations
Restorative Justice Diversion Toolkit
Advocates seeking to start a restorative justice diversion program on their own can now do so through our online toolkit at RJDToolkit.org!
A Diversion Toolkit for Communities offers a step-by-step guide through the initial stages of implementing our approach to an RJD program, including building and strengthening relationships with community members and organizations, getting buy-in from system partners, and setting up a case referral process. After completing the toolkit and receiving the recommended requisite trainings, the final step is to sign up for updates about attending a Restorative Community Conferencing (RCC) training from the Restorative Justice Project.
While the COVID-19 crisis presented a unique opportunity for certain elements of our work to transition to a virtual format, we firmly believe this work is best done in person whenever possible. To that end, our Restorative Justice Project plans to offer in-person training experiences for site teams and stakeholders in our new space in Impact Justice’s Oakland office when local and CDC health guidelines permit.
Please continue to check our website for more information about how you can register for these training experiences in the future. Scholarship applications will also be available for those who require additional resources to join these experiences.
Additionally, we plan to share more resources for a variety of stakeholders, virtually and in-person, interested in learning more and supporting Restorative Justice Diversion, including system partners, funders, and advocates.