RIT to Hold Sixth Western New York Restorative Justice Conference

Panelists will attempt to find solutions to criminal justice issues

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Restorative justice emphasizes the harm caused by a criminal act. It is accomplished through a voluntary process that includes the crime victim, the offender and other individuals affected by the crime to discuss what happened and what steps can be taken to repair the harm caused by the crime.

“When people first hear about restorative justice, they wonder what it is,” says Mary Reed, president of Partners in Restorative Initiatives. “When and where applied, restorative justice practices provide a legitimate alternative to incarceration, providing closure, satisfaction to victims and cost savings to taxpayers.”

This year’s Western New York Restorative Justice Conference will be held 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 6 and Oct. 7 at the Student Alumni Union at Rochester Institute of Technology.

The conference will consist of breakout sessions and panel discussions featuring leaders from organizations using restorative justice practices within the courts, classrooms and other community venues. Sessions will also provide training on how to use these processes in agreement with the criminal justice system with a focus on saving costs and providing restitution and closure that can ultimately promote healing and build healthy communities. Keynote addresses will be given at the start of both days:

Oct 6: “A Systemic Model for Change in Schools,” given by Steve Korr, a staff counselor with International Institute for Restorative Practices.

Oct 7: “The Past, Present and Future of Restorative Justice,” given by Mark Carey and Anne Seymour. Carey is a published author on juvenile justice and has more than 20 years of experience in the correctional field. Seymour is co-founder and senior adviser of Justice Solutions, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit specializing in criminal and juvenile justice, crime victims’ rights and services and community safety.

“The Department of Criminal Justice has also been instrumental in providing support for peace circle and community conferencing training for students and other professionals,” says LaVerne McQuiller Williams, chair of RIT’s criminal justice department. “Attendees will gain valuable and relevant information about the applications of restorative initiatives in a variety of venues.”

Registration fees for the two-day conference:

$200 both days; $125 one day
Student rate: $60 both days; $30 one day

To register, go to www.pirirochester.org or call 585-473-0970.

About Partners in Restorative Initiatives: Partners in Restorative Initiatives, located in Rochester, is a nonprofit organization that works with schools, courts and communities to instill restorative practices through education, advocacy, training and facilitation. Partners in Restorative Initiatives envision a world where restorative principles and practices are known, respected and used to redress harm, restore peace, improve relationships, reduce violence, promote healing and build healthy communities. For more information, go to www.pirirochester.org.

About Rochester Institute of Technology: Rochester Institute of Technology is internationally recognized for academic leadership in computing, engineering, imaging science, sustainability, and fine and applied arts, in addition to unparalleled support services for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. RIT enrolls 17,500 full- and part-time students in more than 200 career-oriented and professional programs, and its cooperative education program is one of the oldest and largest in the nation.

For more than two decades, U.S. News & World Report has ranked RIT among the nation’s leading comprehensive universities. RIT is featured in The Princeton Review’s 2012 edition of The Best 376 Colleges as well as its Guide to 311 Green Colleges. The Fiske Guide to Colleges 2012 names RIT as a “Best Buy,” and The Chronicle of Higher Education recognizes RIT among the “Great Colleges to Work For 2011.”