Restorative Justice Practices ProjectRestorative Justice Goals
Restorative Justice Practices
In the fall of 2016, TYJI was privileged to begin a partnership with the Child Health and Development Institute through their School-Based Diversion Initiative (SBDI). The Connecticut SBDI project is funded through a collaborative effort by the State of Connecticut departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Children and Families and the Judicial Branch.
SBDI is a school-level initiative that engages teachers, staff, administrators, and school resource officers through consultation, expert training, and capacity building activities. SBDI is an effective strategy to increase access for students and families to mental health prevention supports and treatment services in the school and local community.
The Restorative Justice Practices Project was developed in the fall of 2016 in order to meet the need of the SBDI model to offer a comprehensive training and technical assistance plan for Restorative Justice implementation within their participating districts.
Starting in the spring of 2018, a full-time Restorative Justice Practices Project Coordinator has been in installed at TYJI to support the continued development of a robust array of RJ-focused services for SBDI participant districts.
What We Offer
School’s participating in the SBDI project through CHDI are offered the following services through TYJI’s Restorative Justice Practices Project:
- Training in the International Institute for Restorative Justice “Basic Restorative Practices” model: Introduction to Restorative Practices, Using Circles Effectively and Facilitating Restorative Conferences
- Technical Assistance on RJ implementation in schools for both the preventative and responsive application of RJ
- School-centered consultation by the Project Coordinator around specific issues that arise during implementation
- Modeling of effective RJ practices on-site
- Resource Assistance for acquiring implementation materials
- Consultation for school administration around systems level installation
Overall Project Goals
The Tow Youth Justice Institute, through our partnership with CHDI on the School-Based Diversion Initiative, truly hope to impact lasting change for youth populations around the state of Connecticut. In diverting youth from contact with the Juvenile Justice system for school-based offenses, we are providing a meaningful barrier from the school-to-prison pipeline, and are identifying more meaningful alternative supports to these children and their families.
By providing in-depth training and technical assistance on Restorative Justice implementation in schools, school staffs are offered beneficial alternative responses to harmful behaviors in their school communities. Data is increasingly proving not only the lack of benefit to implementing punitive discipline practices, but also the long-term negative impact punitive discipline policies have on a school’s climate and the behavior of student populations.
Over time, we hope to see sustained reductions in classroom write-ups, school suspensions and expulsions, as well as a decrease in the rates by which students in our public school system are arrested, in order to increase their ability to access education and become a part of a healthy larger community.