United Nations Roundtable on Restorative Pedagogy

Last month, I was honored to be invited to be part of a roundtable on Restorative Pedagogy hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Here is a description of the roundtables from the UNODC press release.

“From criminology, psychology and political studies degrees, to university courses for the social workers, lawyers and schoolteachers of the future, restorative justice and restorative practice increasingly appear on higher education curricula. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Education for Justice (E4J) initiative recognises the importance of restorative justice, and has developed a module to promote and strengthen its teaching in higher education institutions globally.

Further recent developments in restorative justice teaching in higher education include the publication of The Little Book of Restorative Teaching Tools (Pointer, et al., 2020) and a corresponding website, and efforts by academics in Ireland and Australia to encourage their colleagues from around the world and across different disciplines to share restorative justice syllabi.

While many collaborations and discussions focus on restorative justice research, few seek to bring the field together around its teaching in universities. In light of this, Dr. Wendy O’Brien (UNODC, E4J) and Dr. Ian Marder (Maynooth University Department of Law) co-organised a series of three online roundtables to enable those who teach restorative justice and restorative practice in higher education to learn from each other’s experiences of doing so.

These roundtables took place in mid-May 2020, involving around 70 academics from 30 countries. Each session began with a welcome from Dr. O’Brien who introduced participants to the tertiary component of E4J and the University Module Series on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. Next, Jee Aei (Jamie) Lee from the UNODC Justice Section shared information about the publication of the revised UNODC Handbook on Restorative Justice Programmes. The roundtables were then dedicated to discussions on different themes related to teaching restorative justice in universities. These discussions were chaired by Dr. Marder who used restorative practices to give everyone present an opportunity to speak.”



Video: Mock Restorative Justice Process

Please note that both the pre-conference and the conference processes are significantly shorter than they would be in real life. In real life, each meeting is generally at least twice as long as shown, giving the opportunity to ask additional questions to dive deeper into the incident, impacts and needs. In real life, participants would also likely have a support person present.

Victim Post-Incident Interview:


Offender Post-Incident Interview:


Pre-Conference Meeting with Offender:


Restorative Justice Conference:


Mock Restorative Justice Conference

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:

  1. This is an abbreviated version of the restorative justice process. Most real life conferences are about one hour or longer.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Character Descriptions:

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.

Three Minute Thesis

I recently entered the Three Minute Thesis competition at Victoria University. The Three Minute Thesis competition challenges postgraduate students to explain their thesis research to a non-specialist audience in just 3 minutes. The goal is to clearly outline your research, engage the audience, and make them want to learn more. I thought it sounded like a really fun exercise, so entered the School of Government competition. I was surprised to win the School of Government heat and was even more surprised to go on to win first place in the Victoria University school-wide competition. In September, I will be traveling to compete against the top Master’s students from across New Zealand. The competition is a great exercise in sharing research in a relatable way and was an awesome opportunity to hear about the great work being done by other postgraduate students.

If you have 3 minutes and would like to hear a bit more about my research, check out the video below. Here is a link to the media release about the competition and my presentation.


Three Minute Thesis Finalists

Watch my Three Minute Thesis presentation here:

Video: Restorative Justice, Restorative Practices, Restorative Community

You may have heard the terms Restorative Justice, Restorative Practices, and Restorative Community, but what does each term mean and how do they relate to each other? 

This video endeavors to offer a clear explanation of how Restorative Practices, including Restorative Justice, function together to create a Restorative Community. A Restorative Community can be intentionally created in a school, workplace, neighborhood, city, or any other place where people come together.

Restorative Justice Video: Inclusion

A local philanthropic organization recently put out a call for video grant submissions that demonstrate in two minutes or less how your nonprofit emphasizes inclusion. Inspired by the style of one of my favorite TED Talks, I wrote a script and designed the accompanying sketches for this short video. Kathleen and I had a hoot filming it!

Special thanks to Eli Pointer for editing and technical support!