RIT Hosts Conference on Restorative Justice, Oct. 15




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What happens when more than two million adults are incarcerated in U.S. jails and prisons, and an increasing number of children are placed in alternative schools and residential settings? A growing movement of restorative justice practitioners hopes to break this pattern of hopelessness through a community-driven approach to crime, offenders and victims.

A panel of national and local experts will explore the potential of restorative justice policy and practice during the conference, “Restorative Justice: The Power to Transform Individuals, Schools and Communities,” from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 15, at the RIT Inn & Conference Center, 5257 West Henrietta Road.

A new and innovative approach to crime, safety and peace, restorative justice is a systemic response to crime that seeks to repair harm by involving all stakeholders through mediation, conferences, victim assistant, ex-offender assistance, restitution and community service. The conference will teach criminal justice professionals, youth workers and school administrators about restorative justice as an alternative to retributive- and punishment-based policies.

“Restorative justice policy and practice have great potential to resolve conflicts, to repair harms generated by incivilities, to meet victim needs, to hold offenders accountable and to promote peaceable and safe schools and communities,” says Tom Castellano, chair of Rochester Institute of Technology's Department of Criminal Justice.

Featured speakers at the conference will include restorative justice author and trainer Kay Pranis, Trudy Gregorie from the National Center for Victims of Crime in Arlington, Va., and David Lehrman, a nationally prominent District Attorney from Minnesota.

Participating local leaders will include Frank Ovejero, Monroe County Assistant District Attorney, Tom Dwyer, juvenile accountability conferencing coordinator, and Annie Monaco from Child and Family Services in Cheektowaga.

The event is co-sponsored by RIT's Department of Criminal Justice and the Finger Lakes Restorative Justice Center. Registration is $55. To register online, visit www.rit.edu/~crimjust or call 585-475-2812 or 585-475-0970. A limited number of registration fee waivers are available for students and community members. Please inquire about their availability.