If you’re passionate about restorative justice, Atlanta’s Georgia State University is interested in hearing about the work you are doing.
A few years ago, Georgia State University created an online clearinghouse on restorative justice. I’ve been exploring it for a couple of years. It’s an outstanding resource.
Carolyn Benne worked with GSU’s law school and the school of social work, using a combination of federal funds and foundation grants, to make this project happen. GSU’s I.T. sharpies helped her with the mechanics. No doubt, Carolyn drew on her business, legal and organizational skills to navigate the inter-departmental politics and launch the site. Her multiple degrees from Duke University probably came into play, too.
The site has been around awhile, and now it’s time to beef up the base and get serious about the business of Restorative Justice in the southeastern U.S.
The intent of the GSU website is to enhance and strengthen the RJ field by:
- Sharing knowledge;
- Explicitly seeking opportunities to connect people and scholars with one another;
- Exposing users to both knowledge and programmatic activities that might spark creativity, broaden applications of RJ principles and improve RJ practices; and,
- Offering a social networking activity that strengthens connectivity among RJ people, scholars, and those seeking restorative justice information, especially in the Southeastern US.
Recently, Carolyn Benne wrote to supporters:
“We would like to establish a core of at least 50 initial entries so that we can distribute the site more broadly and have some actual “substance” to share. [Editor's Note: the site always has included plenty of substance.] We’re starting with people like you, whom we’ve worked with before, so that we know that the foundation on which we are building will be strong. Our objective is to form communities of practice and initiate scholarly work from the connections made on the site.
A crying need in the restorative justice field is to create a solid database of research which demonstrates the effectiveness of restorative practices as compared to the more harsh practices of the punishment-oriented criminal justice system.
As a reader of Fairnessworks.com, it’s possible you’re not professional practitioner of restorative justice. But chances are high that you want to help build a structure for peacemaking and restorative practices. Search your mind and share this message with any professionals who might want to join the GSU network. These might include counselors, lawyers, social workers, law enforcement officers, ministers or teachers. Or even parents and coaches who routinely handle conflicts and want to handle them better. Consider asking someone to submit an entry.
As Carolyn writes:
It’s very easy to submit an entry. Just go to the site:
http://whatisrestorativejustice.org, and click on the “share” tab in the upper right corner. The instructions are right there. You don’t need to write very much. A few lines with your perspective are all we’re looking for.
If you have ideas, or would like to learn more about building an outstanding resource for restorative principles, please contact Carolyn. Here is her contact info:
Carolyn G. Benne
College of Law
Georgia State University
Georgians and southeastern U.S. residents have an amazing resource in GSU and in Carolyn Benne. I hope you will send her your support!