Repairing the Harm: The Root of Restorative Justice

Title: Repairing the Harm: The Root of Restorative Justice, Dr. Jane Nicholson, Instructor

Fee: $30 minus $5 early bird discount if registration is received by December 31. This course is offered for less than half the normal Fe U rate for a 16 hour class to introduce students to the concept of Restorative Justice.

Dates: January 14, 16, 21, 23, 2020

Time: 1:00-5:00 PM

Location: Mercer Library, 2648 Margaret St., Mercer, WI 54547

Overview:  The field of Restorative Justice emerged during the late 1970’s in response to historically high incarceration rates around the world.  Currently, Restorative Justice is endorsed by the E.U. and the U.N., in addition to many nations. In particular, we can recognize its impact globally in peace and reconciliation processes, juvenile justice, and as an alternative to suspension and expulsion in schools.  Restorative Justice is a distinct approach to justice that involves everyone (stakeholders) affected in the particular harm caused; they share their perspectives, determine the appropriate accountability for the harm caused, and determine what resources are available to ensure better future outcomes.  Depending on the harm and its context, Restorative Justice may be mandated as a parallel process in Criminal Justice matters.

Course Content:  In the 16 class hours we will explore Restorative Justice theory and practices, its history, and its roots.  Important ideas for reflection and discussion include: what is a just society, community/civic justice, justice/injustice, violence/non-violence, and conflict/conflict resolution. Restorative community building through facilitated open conversation (circles) will structure our class community.  We will be interactive and open to participants’ inquiries. Class notes will be provided following each meeting. The instructor will provide a full complement of readings from the field as well as philosophy, education, criminology, social work, and law, nearly all of which will be optional.

Outcomes:  A full understanding of Restorative Justice and its place within thought on justice.  An opportunity for each participant to reflect on just society and the role of Restorative Justice in our society and communities, now and in the future. Following this class any students wishing to pursue full certification should consult the instructor.

Instructor: Dr. Jane Nicholson is a native-born Wisconsinite and a graduate of UW-Madison.  She continued studying and completed her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at the University of Iowa.  She further broadened her teaching to include Women’s Studies. While directing a program in women studies, Jane decided to further dedicate herself to social justice issues.  She “retired” early to pursue accreditation in Restorative Justice. She has pursued this field during the last twenty years. Jane has worked in public schools, neighborhood nonprofits, and university classrooms (DePaul, Governors State) to bring a different vision of justice across society from our public spaces to our schools to the criminal justice system.  Restorative Justice offers analysis, as well as means of collective deliberation on matters of harm in the communities where they occur. Jane has found that the breadth of justice matters—from philosophy, to policy, to education—has awakened her and her students to deeper understandings and practical skillfulness in matters of justice.