My colleague Haley and I recently created a video of a mock restorative justice conference as a tool for our university trainings. If you are interested in getting a taste of what a restorative justice conference looks like, please check it out.
A few things to know before watching:
- This is an abbreviated version of the restorative justice process. Most real life conferences are about one hour or longer.
- In a real conference, the participants would be seated in a circle on an equal plane. The modified circle was necessarily in order to successfully film from a single angle.
- Prior to a restorative justice conference, the facilitators meet with each involved party (victim, offender, etc.) for a pre-conference meeting. This meeting is a chance to review the process, practice the questions that will be asked, and build relationships and trust with the participants. Before the conference you see in the video could take place, the facilitators would have first met with each of the involved parities individually.
On Thursday night at 8pm, Sarah was in her room working on a paper for her Anthropology class that was due the next day. She went next door to ask her neighbor (Jill) who is in the same class a question. When she returned to her room 15 minutes later, her laptop and charger were missing. She immediately called her RA (Harry). Harry filed a report about the missing laptop including that it had a green “Tree Hugger” sticker on the front. Sarah’s paper wasn’t backed up so Sarah also sent an email to her professor explaining what happened.
A week later, Harry was doing room checks on the floor and happened to see a laptop with a green “Tree Hugger” sticker on it on Tom’s desk. He asked Tom where he got the laptop and Tom stumbled over his words for a while before admitting that he had taken it from Sarah’s room. Harry returned the laptop to Sarah and reported what had happened to the Hall Manager (Laura). Because Tom had taken responsibility for stealing the laptop, Laura decided to give Tom and Sarah the option of Restorative Justice. Both agreed to participate in the process.
Tom: Tom is a first-year student studying graphic design. He really enjoys drawing, photography, and photo-editing. He is outgoing and has a big social circle. Tom’s parents gave him a laptop as a graduation gift at the end of college. Then, riding his skateboard across campus, he accidentally fell and damaged the laptop. He hasn’t been able to turn it on and doesn’t have the money to fix it. He has been too embarrassed to tell his parents because he has always been considered the trouble child compared to his older sister.
Sarah: Sarah is a first-year student studying anthropology. She is a straight-A student and involved in the environmental club. She tends to feel a lot of anxiety about school work and a need to be perfect. She was shy growing up and is trying to overcome that at university and make friends.
Harry: This is Harry’s second year as an RA (third year of university). He really enjoys the opportunity to support first-year students and puts a lot of energy into building a fun and supportive community on the floor.
Laura: Laura is the Hall Manager and has been very busy this year with a group of first-year students who like to party a lot. She is feeling a bit over her head trying to manage everything. She has a great group of RAs supporting her and trusts them completely.