SAVE THE DATES! 2016 RJ Colorado Conference in VAIL September 25-27

SAVE THE DATES! 2016 RJ Colorado Conference in VAIL September 25-27

The Colorado RJ Council is pleased to announce it will host the 2016 Colorado Restorative Justice Conference, September 25 -27, at the Vail Marriott.

Save the dates and get ready for a look through the RJ Lens at the trends, triumphs and treks ahead.

This event promises to offer the RJ Community in Colorado and beyond a look at Restorative Justice Practices in Colorado from our 25 year history to the present and well into the future.

There will be great opportunities for everyone interested in Restorative Justice Practices from the new-comers to long-timers.

The nation’s first Restorative Justice Film Festival will provide tools and insights into how to communicate our work.

Call for Film Festival entries and Presenters as well as registration for early birds and more about the event will be coming soon.

Stay tuned here at www.rjcolorado.org.

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Restorative Practitioners Needed

The Colorado Restorative Networks group formed in August of 2014. It's mission is to bring restorative practices to all aspects of life in Colorado from homes, to neighborhoods, to workplaces, to policy making, to places of worship, etc.

Our Network members are involved in a variety of projects, using restorative practices in traditional and pioneering ways. Our members interests vary. They include restorative practices in schools, racial justice, restorative parenting and divorce, restorative dialogues on eldercare, the environment, policy making and mental illness, restorative circles for domestic violence survivors, neighborhood and community building, and restorative workplaces. We meet monthly to share ideas, get to know one another, and build collaborations. To learn more about the network visit www.restorativenetworks.com. We meet every first Thursday of the month from 10:15 am till 12:15 pm, either in Boulder, Longmont or Arvada. We have the ability to patch people in by Skype.

One of our current projects involves bringing the restorative principles of relationship, respect, responsibility, repair, and reintegration to the City of Longmont as a way to address the impact of mental illness related issues on the city's residents. We are going to hold a series of community conversations that are adapted restorative peacemaking/solution circle processes. Our ultimate goal is to give voice to those who are directly and indirectly effected by mental illness, and to bring those who are interested in making a difference together to create community-based solutions to the crises that occur.

We need volunteer facilitators. If you are a Restorative Justice and/or Nonviolent Communication (TM) practitioner and would like to be involved in facilitating these conversations, please contact Jessica Dancingheart at (303) 589-8420 or jessica@openingtopossibilities.com.

If you would like to get on the Restorative Networks mail list, email Jessica at jessica@openingtopossibilities.com.

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Restorative Practices In Schools For Colorado In 2016

In 2016, one of the RJ Council’s priorities is to support the development and expansion of Restorative Practices in Schools (RPS). In an effort to move forward as a statewide community, the RJ Council will convene three meetings in the first quarter of the year to establish best practices in RPS. ..

Circle Round Restorative Best Practices Merges With Restorative Solutions, Inc.

Circle Round Restorative Best Practices Merges With Restorative Solutions, Inc.

Strategic Combination Will Increase Effectiveness of Service Delivery of Restorative Practices and Create a Powerful Collaboration Between Two Leading Restorative Justice Organizations

Boulder, CO (December 15, 2015) – Two leading restorative justice organizations in Boulder, Colorado—Restorative Solutions, Inc. and Circle Round Restorative Best Practices, LLC—have agreed to merge under the name and auspices of Restorative Solutions, Inc. The merger will allow two leading restorative justice organizations to combine their efforts, talents, and contacts in the field to provide more comprehensive training and consulting services to schools, towns, governmental agencies and juvenile justice organizations.

Restorative Best PracticesThis merger comes following the passing of Anne Rogers, a pioneer and leader in the field of Restorative Justice in Colorado and the nation, who was the founder of Restorative Solutions. Anne strongly supported the continuation of Restorative Solutions following her passing.

“The combination of Restorative Solutions and Circle Round Restorative Best Practices creates an exciting opportunity for our company, for our clients, and for the field at large," said Randy Compton, President and Co-founder, Restorative Solutions, Inc.

Catherine Childs, CEO and Founder of Circle Round Restorative Best Practices, brings more than a decade of experience in the field of Restorative Justice practices and also with Restorative Solutions, Inc. She recently took over Anne Roger’s position as director of Restorative Justice Services for the 20th Judicial District Probation Department.

Restorative Solutions, Inc. has a long history of restorative justice work in both schools and criminal/juvenile justice and was the lead training organization for Denver Public Schools when they launched their district-wide “restorative practices” program in 2007.

Catherine Childs brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the merger, including Circle Round to Stay in School, a truancy prevention and intervention model, and a community based Restorative Justice services model and training manual for municipal and district courts that can be adapted and implemented around the country.

This merger began with a five-day Summer Institute for Restorative Practices held at Flagstaff Academy in Longmont Colorado, which was a collaboration between Restorative Solutions, Inc., Flagstaff Academy and Circle Round Restorative Best Practices. Catherine Childs led the highly successful, two-day workshop on Implementation Science.

About Restorative Solutions, Inc.

Restorative Solutions, Inc. offers a fresh approach to improving our response to wrongdoing, crime and conflict—in schools, community and criminal justice systems, and workplaces. Our clients recognize the potential of restorative justice and restorative practices and are committed to creating healthy organizations and communities of engaged and caring citizens. Restorative Solutions is dedicated to inspiring and supporting individuals, organizations and communities to embrace restorative community justice values, principles and practices. We encourage the use of these principles and practices to bring out the best response to wrongdoing, crime and conflicts in a wide variety of settings.

Our services include, skills training in restorative practices, program development, program management, strategic planning and integration, partnership building, community development and team development. Our trainers and consultants have assisted hundreds of organizations and communities nationally and internationally in finding ways to incorporate restorative justice values, principles and practices.

For more information call Restorative Solutions, Inc. at 303-449-2737 or visit their website at http://restorativesolutions.us

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Restorative Justice Practices: an innovative approach to dealing with crime with a long history in CO

Colorado’s restorative justice movement has been in motion since the early 1990’s. Innovators and leaders in the judicial system, law enforcement, schools and Colorado communities have been test driving restorative justice practices for almost 25 years.

Programs like the Center for Restorative Practices in Alamosa, CO and what is now known as the Longmont Community Justice Partnership have been operating since then, providing victims with a voice in response to the crimes that harmed them and offenders a safe place to take responsibility for their crimes in order to make things right to the extent possible.

Restorative justice practices allow communities to engage trained citizens in responding to crime and conflict in a way that often satisfies all participants. Data has been collected for over a decade in CO showing over 95% of restorative justice participants are satisfied or very satisfied with their experience in restorative justice and believe everyone was treated fairly. The statistics also indicate the recidivism rate among offenders who complete their restorative justice agreements to repair harm are far less likely to recidivate.

Since the inception of the Colorado Restorative Justice Council in 2007, restorative justice practices have expanded, especially in the juvenile realms. The four juvenile diversion restorative justice pilot project in district attorney’s offices around the state will soon have their first report available here at RJCO.org.

Restorative justice practices in Colorado are expanding rapidly in schools. Since the joint statement put forth by the Federal Departments of Education and Justice in January of 2014 training and support for schools and students has taken off at an exciting pace.

As CO continues to lead the field and support other states in developing their restorative justice practices, we hope to see more data building a body of evidence that has restorative justice practices become the first response to crime and conflict. Students and adults alike are benefiting from this innovative response to crime that brings people responsible for crimes face to face with those they have harmed so communities can be safer for all.

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RJ Colorado to host first Restorative Justice Films Festival in US

As Restorative justice moves closer to becoming a household phrase more short films and full length feature films are getting produced on the topic. The Colorado Restorative Justice Council has decided it is time to find the best of these films and celebrate them

These films help educate audiences about the values and principles of restorative justice practices. The stories move viewers to talk about the courage of those involved in restorative justice and expand the awareness of this innovative practice involving those most directly impacted by crime and conflict.

Starting in January of 2016, submissions for films will be submitted at www.rjcolorado.org . Short films and full length feature films on restorative justice will be reviewed and the best ones selected for viewing at the 2016 Restorative Justice Colorado Conference in September.

An internship is currently available to the right person to support the development of this first ever Restorative Justice Film Festival. (see the posting on www.rjcolorado.org )
For more information email deb.witzel@judicial.state.co.us

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Thanksgiving for the homeless and The Belonging Revolution in Longmont CO

Thanksgiving for the homeless and The Belonging Revolution in Longmont CO

Restorative Practices show up in many ways. There is a restorative practice happening in Longmont, Colorado with two generous and curious men. Dan Benavidez and Mike Butler. Dan has been capturing notes and sharing them after each walk. The following is an excerpt from Dan and Mike’s “Belonging Revolution” walks. This latest entry from Dan stirs the heart and deepens the understanding of what Thanksgiving can be. On Thanksgiving Day they went to some frigid, snowy places in town where the homeless population often gather.

From Dan

Restorative Justice with the homelessI arose on Thanksgiving day it was cold out, 21 degrees and snowing, last night was at least a one dog night and I said to myself, self - Ahh a leisure, kick back day today and then in the afternoon be with my loving family at a Thanksgiving dinner feast at my beloved Sister Lee’s house and then I received this message at 8:30 AM from mike!

Don't know if you are interested in joining me. I am going to Safeway this morning and purchase some food and then go to where those struggling with homeless are and give it to them. I want to talk with them and let them know they are appreciated and valued. I want them to know they belong - to our community and in our hearts. Mike

I responded yes for sure! Mike said good, I will be by to pick you up in a few minutes. Which he did and we went to Safeway’s and where Mike bought over two dozen sub sandwiches (which we would be giving to the homeless). And Oh My! What followed was one of the most spiritual up lifting days I can ever remember!

I had a nice talk with the homeless U.S. Marine veteran and shared with him that I was a U.S. Army vet and he said with a big smile on his face “We called you GI’s our friends and our fellow Marines our Brothers” We gave each other a fist pump and thanked each other for our service, Oh my!! How good a feeling when I seen his smile and knowing that we most likely made this Marine who had served our Country and who now is homeless, cold and miserable a Thanksgiving oh so much better a day for him!

Restorative Justice Helps the homelessAnd OMG I how good it was when we were there with the two homeless men who were sitting in the shelter struggling just to keep somewhat warm and Mike came up to them started talking with them and gave each of them two Sub Sandwiches and then Mike seeing the poor elder skinny homeless man sitting before us with very lousy gloves said “I will be Right back” and he went back to the car and brought the man his own personal warm gloves, and then Mike reached in his pocket and took out two $20.00 bills and gave one to each of them and said “Here go buy yourselves a warm meal” WOW!!! The skinny man was in tears and the other was beaming from ear to ear. I mean how awesome and caring that was of Mike!! And then there was the young Lady who gave us a big, big smile and gave Mike a hug and said Oh My!! I do belong in Longmont It’s so wonderful that you care for us!

And after our morning with the homeless which also included a walk on a snowy trail along the St. Vrain River where Mike said many homeless camp out, our very spiritual in the true sense of the word visit with the homeless came to an end with Mike sending me the following message.

“Thank you for joining me this morning as we brought comfort, care, a sense of belonging, gloves, some cash and food to those so in need. As I think about this morning, I truly saw our other brothers and sisters. It does hurt to know some are in so much discomfort, so hungry, so in need. It just makes me want to double down on our service. I wanted to let everyone know that it will be ok. But I'm not sure that will happen for some in this lifetime. God bless them all”

Thank you

Dan Benavidez

Dan Benavidez is a long time Longmont resident who has served his community in many capacities. From Mayor Pro-temp to board member of Teaching Peace, Eco-Cycle and many other organizations he has represented the Latino community with heart and commitment. These days Dan is literally walking his talk about building strong, cohesive communities by walking Longmont neighborhoods with Director of Public Safety, Mike Butler as they venture to begin “The Belonging Revolution”. Mike has served Longmont for two decades as Chief of Police and now Director of Public Safety. He makes a habit of engaging innovative strategies for connecting “public” and “safety”. His latest innovation is to be an ambassador for Belonging in Longmont. The city’s slogan is, “You belong in Longmont”, and these two are bringing that notion to life.

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