Restorative Justice Advocate, Consultant, and Trainer

RJ Related Background:

Chmanitou group sitting in circleild Advocate, Guardian Ad Litem, Gainesville, Florida. 1987-1989.  Victim advocate for abused and neglected children, including victims of sexual abuse.

Domestic Violence Victim Advocate, Executive Director, and Trainer:  Sexual and Physical Abuse Resource Center, Gainesville, FL.  1989-90.  Part of my job was to provide educational programs about domestic violence to local citizens, law enforcement, victim advocates, and medical professionals.

Associate Director, Victim Offender Reconciliation Program Information & Resource Center: 2003-2007Case management and preparation of victims and offenders for dialog in murder cases. Restorative justice consulting, victim-offender mediation, training and program development at the national and international level. Educated Departments of Corrections about programs being created for families of murder victims to face the killers of their loved ones. Attended National Conferences on Restorative Justice in Texas in 2007 and 2009.

Circlekeeper: I have led Circles in various contexts and have taught basic Circle processes plus conflict resolution skills, deep listening. My work tends to be in using Circles to know each other better and to gain understanding of common values and goals so we can work together. Examples of groups I have been associated with doing Circles include the Florida Bar Elder Law section, classes at Warren Wilson College, and many retreats led in Circle.   2003-present.

Media Consultant:

Working in a variety of roles, I frequently work with producers in early stages of developing treatments.  I’ve also been involved in some on-going projects. For example:

  • Background Consultant: In 2003, I was consulted by a producer for Oprah regarding a show on restorative justice. I spent a couple of hours on the telephone educating the producer, laying groundwork for what was eventually a very successful program.
  • Researcher and Episode Producer, Confrontation (documentary series on A&E, also featured on Oprah). Advised and educated producers, screened potential cases for filming. Screening involved meeting with families of murder victims and the killers, ascertaining their suitability for face-to-face dialog. 2006-2007
  • Co-Producer, Veteran’s Court: Fallen Heroes Rise Again  [Ultimately rejected by A&E)

Trainings & Classes

  • Presenter,
    • Bringing Restorative Practices to the Hard Nosed Business Community – Shifting Corporate Culture by Embedding Restorative Practices, with Randy Langford, Linda Alvarez, and Kristin Scheel. National Association of Community and Restorative Justice conference.  Oakland, CA. June, 2017.
    • Lawyers as Peacemakers, National Association of Community and Restorative Justice conference.  Fort Lauderdale, FL.  June, 2015.
  • Presenter, Peacemaking with Victims and Offenders, Annual Dispute Resolution Center Conference for Mediators & Arbitrators:  August 25-27, 2011, Orlando.
  • Adjunct College Professor, Warren Wilson College, Asheville, NC Fall 2007 to Spring, 2008
    • Taught two semesters of Restorative Justice and one of Business Law, using experiential learning approaches, including Circle Process.
    • Supervised student independent study in applying Appreciative Inquiry and Restorative Justice to campus issues.
  • The New Lawyer, Harvard Negotiation Project Insight Initiative, Harvard Law School, 2007.  Arriving as a participant at HNII week-long program, in recognition of my experience, I was invited to help co-teach the sections on Restorative Justice and Collaborative Law.
  • In collaboration with Marty Price, I created all presentation materials (PowerPoint, hand-outs, manuals) for a US State Department-sponsored speaking and training tour to introduce restorative justice to Chile and Argentina. My colleague received two Fulbright grants and an appointment at John F. Kennedy University of Argentina Law School in Buenos Aires, where he delivered the materials in the PhD program and various other programs in the region.
  • Community Justice Program, Yuma County Attorneys Office, Restorative Justice Community Conference and Working Effectively with Victims & Offenders, Co-Leader, Yuma, Arizona, 2006. Trainees included prison officials, victim advocates, prosecutors, counselors, and community leaders.

Introduction to Restorative Justice, Community Conference
Participants:  Most of my RJ trainings are designed to be presented to a mixed group of community members.

Past Offerings:   I started a multi-stakeholder domestic violence task force in 1989 in Gainesville, Florida.  It became a model for community cooperation.  Later I became involved in restorative justice and led stakeholder conferences for communities implementing restorative justice programs.

I’ve taught Basic RJ in college/university classes, law school, and with community groups. Recently, I also presented at the 2015 national restorative justice conference, the third bi-annual RJ conference I have attended.

Time:  Creating an RJ training is part consulting, part training.  Each program is tailored to the needs of the community.

Content:   Restorative Justice seeks to heal the harm of crime, for all the stakeholders. It is a philosophical perspective as well as a social justice movement.

Restorative Justice brings a community together to approach crime from a restorative perspective. The Community Conference is an organizing meeting of interested members of the community.  Legal professionals, community leaders, social workers, teachers, and others gather to explore the questions:  What is restorative justice?  What can it provide for our community?  Who are the stakeholders?  How does a community align their prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, social workers, victim advocates, and other stakeholders and create a way to work together?

Other Restorative Justice Topics

  • Escaping the Drama Triangle (Victim-Offender-Rescuer)

The Drama Triangle is a common dysfunctional dynamic which is often exacerbated by the intervention of the legal system.   This segment is particularly impactful as we explore what it means to be a victim, how it feels to be a perpetrator, and why we are inclined to want to rescue, even when it perpetuates an already dysfunctional situation. Learning about the dynamic and how to break the cycle assists everyone in the process, even if only one person changes.

  • Circlekeeping

A peacemaking circle is an alternative conflict resolution process based on restorative principles that has its origins in ancient tribal conflict resolution rituals.  I am a trained and experience circlekeeper who has led hundreds of circles.  I often teach in circle, allowing and encouraging the active participation of everyone in the room.

  • Should Lawyers Encourage Their Clients to Apologize?

            The hows and whys of apologies and how to be effective in using an apology to shift impasse in conflict.