Big night for our latest round of AC graduates
A new round of Accountability Circle participants graduated Mon, Aug. 1 in a ceremony at Cook Middle School in Santa Rosa. Instead of inviting a guest speaker from the community, this time AC leader Chad Bolla called upon four of the graduates to share their stories and their bright outlook on the future.
One speaker started by saying, "I want to apologize to my parents for what I did to get here." Another said, "These were probably the best weeks of my life, because I knew I had people to listen no matter what was going on in my life." And yet another speaker summed it up by saying, "I never felt judged and that's a beautiful thing."
In case you missed it, here's the film we showed at the graduation:
Our work honored in Gold Resolution ceremony
On March 8, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors adopted a Gold Resolution "commending Restorative Resources for their service to Sonoma County schools and youth." It was a wonderful opportunity to show our county-wide collaboration between schools, Sonoma State University, law enforcement, community-based organizations, community volunteers, and our county and state government.
New Somos Circles program up and running
Our new Somos Circles program has launched in select fifth and sixth grade classrooms in Sonoma County schools. For background on the program, funded in part by the new $900,000 Title II grant awarded to Restorative Resources, check out these news stories: "Accountability Program Underway for 5th and 6th graders" and "Restorative Justice Comes to Sonoma Schools."
Restorative Documentary DVDs Have Arrived
Our "Restorative Justice: Changing Hearts and Minds" DVDs are packaged with post-screening discussion questions, a Spanish translation with subtitles and photo gallery. For only $9.99, anyone can buy the film and screen it for their community, use it as a teaching tool in the classroom or as a conversation starter to introduce topics of restorative justice.
Filmed over a two-year period by director John Beck, the 30-min documentary follows the local restorative justice movement as it takes root in Santa Rosa schools, the Sonoma County judicial and probation system and in the lives of victims, offenders, teachers, students, volunteers and parents.
Here's a radio interview discussing the inspiration behind the film. For more info, go here to watch the film online for free and buy a DVD.
Support Restorative Justice in Sonoma County
We really need you to offer your opinions and feedback: The County of Sonoma is considering adopting Restorative Justice and Accountability Circles for non-Santa Rosa City Schools students.But first they want to hear from you - the community. Please take a moment and go here to give your feedback and opinions about why the Community and Law Enforcement Task Force should adopt this rewarding practice of accountability that is the very cornerstone of what we do at Restorative Resources.
We see this as a great opportunity to expand our reach in Sonoma County, so please take a moment to share your opinion. Thank you!
Congratulations to Our Latest Round of Accountability Circle Graduates
Check out the photo gallery from the recent graduation at Cook Middle School in Santa Rosa.
Restorative Outreach and Training Expands
UPDATE: The recent shift to a restorative culture in Santa Rosa high schools has been so effective that we're now working to implement similar programs in Santa Rosa elementary schools. Restorative Resources is also being tapped to help bring restorative practices to the West County Union High School District and lead restorative training seminars in Willits, Humboldt County, Ukiah and Lodi.
Students United for Restorative Justice
Inspired by the work at Restorative Resources, a group of pioneering Santa Rosa High student leaders has created SURJ - Students United for Restorative Justice. Check out their Facebook page and video produced by student filmmaker Sunce Franicevic:
Restorative Justice Summit a Huge Success
Over a hundred of the most influential leaders in Sonoma County gathered Feb. 21 at the Hilton in Santa Rosa to show their support and discuss how to expand restorative practices in the region. Along with Restorative Resources, Sonoma County Supervisors Mike McGuire and Shirlee Zane hosted the event that included educators, mayors, prosecutors, public defenders, judges, police chiefs and officers, sheriff's deputies, probation officers, county administrators, nonprofit executive directors, school board members, social activists and many more.
After several inspirational speeches, the group watched two short films - one on restorative justice in schools and another on the Restorative Resources adult pilot program. After each film, tables convened in roundtable discussions and then shared their findings with the larger group.
The overall reaction was resounding support for the pilot programs and for expanding their reach. The next step will be to clearly define how each entity will play a unique role in supporting and fostering restorative justice in Sonoma County. Watch the video:
We See It As Justice Through Community
Imagine a community where justice is a choice we make as a whole. A place where criminal offenders make amends in a council that includes the victim, their neighbors, volunteers and community leaders. A system where the goals are taking responsibility and repairing harm instead of punishment and retribution.
This is the mission of Restorative Resources. Since 2001, the community-based nonprofit organization has facilitated hundreds of cases, pioneering the growing field of restorative justice in Sonoma County.
What Sets Us Apart
At Restorative Resources, experienced and compassionate volunteers lead restorative conferences where offenders meet with victims in a circle that includes all parties involved - often arresting officers, school officials and community members. Through deep discussion and honest dialogue, they explore exactly what happened and who was affected. The goal is to reach reconciliation and determine what the offender must do to make amends.
Proven Track Record
For over a decade, Restorative Resources has worked with the Sonoma County Probation Department in implementing multiple juvenile and adult offender programs. After more than 1,000 cases, the percentage of repeat offenders is less than 6%. It’s also worth noting that 94% of the victims involved are very satisfied and 98% of law enforcement are satisfied.
But, it’s about far more than just numbers and statistics. Restoring balance, restoring families, restoring responsibility - Restorative Resources is a new way of looking at the roles we all play in society. It's about more than just a broken criminal justice program that no longer suits our needs. It's about broken communities coming back together.
Restorative Justice is a Tier-1 Evidence Based Program
The effectiveness of Restorative Justice Conferencing is supported by many research and evaluation findings. Restorative Resources is recognized by Sonoma Upstream Investments as a provider of Restorative Conferencing, a Tier 1 Evidence Based Practice of the highest ranking.
Sign up for Restorative Resources Updates
Intro to Restorative Justice
Next Class: September 21st, 6-9 pm
This foundational instruction is the first step to learning the practices and principles of restorative practices and joining a growing network of community-based restorative councils around the country. Sign up here!
Hear the KBBF Interview
Executive director Susan Kinder talks with "Women's Spaces" host Elaine B. Holtz about the need for empathy, the evolution of restorative practices in schools and how she personally got involved with the program.
County Approves $200k for Restorative Practices
Update: On March 15, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved $200,000 for Restorative Practices initiatives as part of the final funding for the recommendations from the CALLE (Community and Local Law Enforcement) Task Force.
The first initiative provides $100K in seed financing for the Sonoma County Office of Education to lead a countywide Restorative Practices program in our county schools.
The second $100,000 CALLE initiative is for Restorative Dialogue circles in 7th and 8th grade classes across Sonoma County.
This landmark vote on the part of our Board of Supervisors reflects the community-wide growth and support for the powerful possibilities of the practices and principles of Restorative Justice. We thank all of you who support the work of Restorative Justice for helping make this dream a reality!
New SCOE Bulletin Touts Restorative Practices
In its latest quarterly bulletin, the Sonoma County Office of Education interviews Restorative Resources director Susan Kinder and Santa Rosa City Schools superintendent Diann Kitamura for a very informative article on the evolution of restorative practices in Sonoma County schools.
Listen: Restorative Resources Director Susan Kinder on KSRO
News: Restorative Resources featured in bilingual La Voz
Check out the La Voz cover stories spotlighting the work of Restorative Resources in the Latino community and a profile of Karym Sanchez.
News: KRCB two-part series on Restorative Resources
A special thanks to KRCB's Bruce Robinson who produced this series on restorative justice in Sonoma County.
News: Restorative Resources in Sonoma County Gazette
For a concise overview of restorative justice concepts and our goals in the community - read the story here.
News: Restorative Justice Pilot Programs Evaluated in SR Schools
Sonoma State criminology professor Pat Jackson recently completed a study of the restorative justice programs at Cook Middle School and Elsie Allen High School.
He cites a continued drop in expulsions and suspensions and an overall positive change in school climate at both institutions. Jackson also notes how "students from both schools appeared to appreciate the change in management of discipline. One said that before restorative justice came, administrators 'would just ask the teacher what happened...Sometimes they wouldn’t even ask me.'" Here's a summary of the study.
News: Year-End Restorative Justice Stats in SR Schools
Our "Close to Home" op-ed in the Press Democrat shows the success of restorative programs in Santa Rosa schools.
News: Cook Middle School Memorial Garden
Restorative Resources staff joined with students, teachers and community members to plant a garden in memory of Andy Lopez and others who have been lost at Cook Middle School. See photo gallery.
News: Restorative Justice embraced by Sonoma State
Two SSU psychology students teamed up with Restorative Resources to host a campus forum on restorative justice.
Check out the Sonoma Star story here.
News: Cover story on Restorative Resources in Santa Rosa Schools
The Bohemian focused their in-depth cover story on Restorative Resources and our schools programs in Santa Rosa.
Writer Leilani Clark enrolled in our Intro to Restorative Justice training and interviewed staff members, school board members, probation department staff and, most importantly, the youth whose lives have been changed in our programs.
It's a must read, check it out here.
News: SR School Board approves $125k pilot program with Restorative Resources
The Santa Rosa City Schools Board of Education voted to approve a contract with Restorative Resources to fund a pilot program for restorative justice suspension diversion at Elsie Allen High School and Cook Middle School.
Read the Press Democrat story and a great Press Democrat editorial.
News: Restorative Resources featured in the Press Democrat
Press Democrat writer Kerry Benefield observed Restorative Resources in action and interviewed one of our program graduates whose expulsion was overturned by the Santa Rosa School Board. Here are the two stories:
- "Some Santa Rosa schools explore alternatives to student suspensions"
- "Santa Rosa school district working to cut high suspension totals"