Restorative Justice is a process to involve, to the extent possible, those who have a stake in a specific offense and to collectively identify and address harms, needs, and obligations, in order to heal and put things right as possible." Howard Zehr
Restorative justice is a term derived from criminal justice principles that switch the focus from the actions of the offender to the affects of the harm caused by those actions. Restorative justice looks to bring those individuals or group representatives that have been harmed by an offender's action to openly discuss the harm and then collectively work to identify ways to make amends and repair the relationships. This program is a part of Clemson University's Healthy Campus Initiative.
In the Fall 2009, the Office of Community and Ethical Standards implemented a restorative justice board (community accountability board), which uses elements of restorative justice to review cases. The purpose of the board is to reconcile cases with referred students in which the harmed party is the Clemson community (e.g. vandalism). Through this intervention the board and student will be able to discuss the student's behaviors and actions that prompted a referral to OCES and together develop a strategy to repair any harm done as a result of these actions.
There are five main focus areas on Clemson's approach to employing restorative justice/education practices. These focus areas are:
As part of our training of restorative justice, we use an approach called Brief Motivational Interviewing. Using Brief Motivational Interviewing (BMI), we are able to learn more about our students and it helps us reduce student resistance, which results in a more positive and collaborative experience. In BMI there are four basic principles: expressing empathy, develop discrepancy, roll with resistance, and supporting self-efficacy. Understanding these four basic principles allows us to explore a person's ambivalence to help them want to make a decision to change their present behavior based on their own broader goals.
For more information on Motivation Interviewing, our recommended reading is:
Motivational interviewing: Preparing people for change by William Miller and Stephen Rollnick.
A component of the Clemson Restorative Justice program is Conflict Mediation. We train all of our restorative justice facilitators in conflict mediation, as this is one of our five focus areas and the foundation for our training. Therefore most of our facilitators also serve as campus conflict mediators. As a conflict mediator our students, faculty, and staff address those cases where a policy has not been violated, but there is a concern that exists that needs to be addressed to the satisfaction of both parties involved.
For both of these programs we need students to pair with a university staff member to serve as a mediation team. To serve you must be enrolled as a Clemson University student. Previous peer mediation experience is helpful, but not necessary. Students in helping fields (e.g. sociology, psychology, education, and nursing) are strongly encouraged to volunteer. Students from other majors are also welcomed to volunteer for this amazing experience. You must be in good standing with the university, meaning you are not currently under disciplinary probation (not to be confused with academic probation). To learn more, contact Randall Williams at 864-656-0510, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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