History and Heart of the 5R’s

A special guest post by Summer Deaton

The 5R Framework is the culmination of Dr. Beverly Title’s life work.  Beverly was a pioneer in the field of restorative practices, and co-founder of ReSolutionaries Inc. As an original appointee to the RJ Council in 2007, Beverly shared the 5Rs as a compass for the newly forming RJ Council and gifted it for public access onwww.rjcolorado.org where it resides today under Restorative Justice Resources. The RJ Council holds the 5Rs forth as one of the guiding documents for restorative justice practices in CO.  Although we lost Beverly in 2014, her legacy has clearly survived; evidenced by the consistent presence of the 5R’s at the recent statewide Restorative Justice conference in Vail.  In celebration of Beverly’s birthday month, ReSolutionaries would like to offer you a short history of the 5R Framework and a free gift to help you take the 5R’s into the classroom. 

5 R's Students
Students from 5 different schools presented a 3-panel poster to convey what RJ/RP is all about. They chose the 5R's & Howard Zehr's 3 questions to sum it up.

In Beverly’s 21 years as a public school educator, 15 of those were spent in alternative high schools for incarcerated or expelled students. When her students were not in jail they were in her class. She recognized that these young people were beautiful spirits caught up in challenging life circumstances which they often responded to violently with defiant and disruptive behavior. They taught her that punishment is often internalized as another form of violence done to them, leaving them feeling entitled to “return the favor.” 

Beverly realized that discipline was necessary and that punishment would not be effective.  At the same time she knew that leniency was not the answer because she believed that one of the kindest things she could do for her students was to hold them accountable at the lowest level possible so they could fix the issue before it caused even bigger problems. Her budding approach provided accountability within a context of care.

5R's ClassroomHer classroom became a living lab where she started to invent and test a new approach.  So inspired and fascinated by what she discovered, Beverly went on to get a Ph.D. in conflict resolution and created some of the first no-bullying curriculum in the early ‘80’s.  At the age of 50, Beverly left her esteemed career as an educator and dedicated the rest of her life to peacemaking.  She discovered Restorative Justice (RJ) and founded the not-for-profit Teaching Peace, where she was a pioneer in the field of RJ in the criminal justice system and continued testing and refining her methodology. 

The 5 R’s Framework cut it’s teeth for 15 years in alternative high schools, and was then battle-tested in the criminal justice system for another 15 years with jaw-dropping successes like 10% recidivism rates (compared to the 60-70% national average) and 96% satisfaction rates reported by all participant groups, including victims, offenders, community members, parents, police officers, and educators. If that isn’t enough evidence of how powerful this system is, in 2009, Beverly founded ReSolutionaries, Inc. with the purpose of bringing restorative practices to schools and we’ve seen suspension and expulsion rates drop by 70%, academic achievement improve, and teacher job satisfaction skyrocket.

Distilling a process this complex into a 5-word framework took one woman’s entire lifetime.  We honor and thank Dr. Beverly Title for staying with the thorny issue of
how to restoratively prevent, resolve and transform conflict & challenging behavior long enough to create this powerful framework.  Tens of thousands of people use the 5R Framework as the core tenet of their restorative practices. At ReSolutionaries, Inc. the 5R Framework is our organizational compass.  It names our core values, directs our process when we get off track, and is the basis for the work we share with our clients.

We encourage you to download this free tool to start using the 5R Framework in your classrooms today.  


How the 5R System WorksThe R’s in this Framework are configured in a circle and must be applied in sequence, starting with Relationship to get the desired outcome of prevention, resolution and ultimately transformation. Leaving out any of the R’s will compromise the effectiveness.  It’s also good to know that using the Framework gets easier with practice, and being surrounded with other like-minded people using this system can shorten your learning curve. Check out ReSolutionaries’ online   training for additional support.  Using the 5R’s gives you a restorative road map for how to prevent, resolve and transform conflict and challenging behavior.  If you struggle with any of the steps, we encourage you to review the prior R’s because you likely have more work to do with a previous step, which explains why the step you are on isn’t working yet...To see the whole system & start using it in your classroom, download this free tool.

Happy birthday, Mom!  Thanks for leaving us this gift so we can share it with the world and carry out your vision for a more peaceful world.

Summer Deaton
CEO of ReSolutionaries, Inc., and loving daughter of Dr. Beverly Title
www.resolutionariesinc.com • 720.340.3488

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