Restorative Justice

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Restorative Justice Facilitator Training

Where: Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY
When: November 11-13
Cost: $450


Training Resources

Training is a lot of fun. It is also necessary to get a strong sense of RJ principles and the necessary skills to facilitate RJ dialogues. Duke Fisher (Learning Labs and Lawrence Cook Peace Innovator Award Winner) and I offer three day campus RJ facilitator trainings. 

"I had one of the best times of my career at the training and I can't wait to do more with it!" Staci Gunner, Office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development, San Jose State University

"It was an awesome training. David and Duke were phenomenal, as were all of the Skidmore students who helped out. I also met wonderful new colleagues, from whom I learned a lot as well. Thank you all so much! I'm looking forward to continuing our dialogues about implementing and refining restorative justice processes on our respective campuses." Sue Escobar, Professor, California State University-Sacramento

Past RJ Trainings

ASCA Gehring Academy RJ Training, June 2009

ASCA Gehring Academy RJ Training, June 2009

Role Plays

The most important part of RJ training is facilitator skill-building practice, and that means lots of role plays. Here’s a few we developed featuring student offenders and common conduct violations.

Film Clips

We often use film clips in our trainings. They are short, engaging, and elicit discussion about key issues in RJ.

University of San Diego Restorative Justice Program
This video provides a crystal clear overview of the Campus RJ process from referral, preconference, and RJ conference to post-conference follow-up.

University of Colorado Restorative Justice Program
This is a clip about a pioneering campus RJ program. The second clip is a shorter version featuring a terrific testimonial from a student offender.


Michigan State University Restorative Justice Program
MSU has produced two great clips: The first is a recent promotional video that focuses on the use of RJ in residential life. The second is an entertaining advertisement for the program produced by a student comedy group.



Restorative Justice in the Context of Campus Discipline
Popular culture imagines campus conduct officers as mean-spirited and punishment focused. The first clip features Dean Wormer from the movie Animal House. A more accurate representation of contemporary conduct administration is reflected in the second clip, a training video for the University of North Carolina. This model is a full pendulum swing from Dean Wormer; instead, the administrator is super friendly and the goal seems to be relationship-building rather than accountability.

Covered Bridge Arson Case
This is a clip from the documentary called Burning Bridges, featuring the part of the conferencing identifying the harm cause by the offense. This is particularly good for campus trainings because the offenders were all college-age.

Paintball Case
This clip features a juvenile case in Colorado in which a boy shot a paintball into a crowded blinding another student in one eye. Tom Cavanaugh wrote a case study of this incident, which is a nice supplement to the clip.


Apology and Restoration
Apology letters are a common sanction in RJ, and on this site I offer a set of suggested guidelines for writing them. Training groups have a good time identifying the ways in which these apologies succeed and/or fail to live up to the apology guidelines. Below is a public apology by an expelled University of Oklahoma student who led a racist chant with his fraternity.

Pettit Apology

Kaavya Viswanathan Plagiarism
In this Katie Couric interview, Harvard University student Kaavya Viswanathan takes responsibility (or does she?) for plagiarizing several passages in her popular teen novel. This clip is terrific for generating discussion about what it means to admit fault and take responsibility. As a supplement, see a short essay I published in the Journal of Student Conduct Administration called “Not with a Bang but a Whimper: A Missed Opportunity for Restorative Justice in a Plagiarism Case.”

Victim Impact: Burglary
In this clip, a victim of a burglary describes the personal impact of the offense. The clip is part of a terrific series by the Department of Justice Office of Victims of Crime that features victims of a variety of crimes, and also includes a training manual.


Restorative Outcomes
Harmed parties have a variety of needs. Sometimes they are predictable, such as a need for safety or for restitution. Sometimes restorative dialogues will reveal unexpected needs, like the wish to see a positive outcome for the offender. The clip illustrates these complex needs and how an RJ dialogue can generate creative outcomes that best meet peoples needs. 

victims charge offenders
Drunk Driving Case
This clip documents a restorative conference in response to a drunk driving incident that resulted in a death. Carolyn Boyes-Watson wrote a case study in her textbook, Crime and Justice: A Casebook Approach.

Introducing a Circle: The Role of the Facilitator
One question new facilitators often ask is how much of themselves should they bring to a conference. Some choose to follow a script closely, while others share meaningful stories that help set the tone and introduce a circle. Consider these two clips, from the independent film, Late Fragment, as examples of how some RJ facilitators may set the tone.


Gandhi: The Promise of RJ
This clip, from the 1982 film, is dramatic and we use it to highlight the philosophical differences between restorative and punishment-focused philosophies.