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Care Over Punishment: Conference 2021

April 21-22. 2021   2:00 PM - 6:00pm EST


IF YOU REGISTERED FOR THIS CONFERENCE, PLEASE USE THE ZOOM LINK BELOW for both conference days. If you still plan to attend, please REGISTER NOW.

GRJP Care Over Punishment Conference Zoom Link: Wed 4/21 @ 2:00pm EST
Time: This is a recurring meeting Meet anytime


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Meeting ID: 814 7669 4118
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Dr. Denis Bikesha

Dr. Denis Bikesha holds a Ph.D. Degree from University of Dar es Salaam, School of Law. He received both his first Degree (LL.B) and Master's Degree (LL.M) from the National University of Rwanda (NUR) in 2004 and 2010 respectively. He is also an alumnus of the School for International Training Graduate Institute based at Vermont, USA where he obtained a post-graduate diploma in Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding. Denis has worked for the Government of Rwanda in different capacities including being a legal office, a Director, and a consultant. He worked as a legal officer for the National Service of Gacaca Courts in Rwanda, an organ that coordinated and supervised all the activities related to trying the cases related to the Genocide perpetrated against Tutsi in Rwanda. In 2007, he became the Director of Training, mobilization and Documentation at the National Service of Gacaca Courts, a post he held until the closure of Gacaca Courts activities in June 2012.

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Kay Pranis

Kay Pranis teaches and writes about the dialog process known as 'Peacemaking Circles.' Her initial teachers in the circle work were Barry Stuart, a judge in Yukon, Canada, and Mark Wedge and Harold Gatensby, First Nations people of Yukon.  From 1994 – 2003 Kay held the position of Restorative Justice Planner at the MN Dept of Corrections. Since that initial exposure to the use of Peacemaking Circles in the justice system, Kay has been involved in developing the use of Peacemaking Circles in schools, social services, churches, families, neighborhoods, museums, universities, municipal planning and workplaces.


Kay has authored or co-authored several books about Circles:  Peacemaking Circles - From Conflict to Community;  The Little Book of Circle Processes – A New/Old Approach to Peacemaking;  Doing Democracy with Circles – Engaging Communities in Public Planning;  Heart of Hope – A Guide for Using Peacemaking Circles to Develop Emotional Literacy, Promote Healing & Build Healthy Relationships and Circle Forward – Building a Restorative School Community.  


Cedric Foussard -World Congress

Cederic Foussard has been working in the field of child justice for almost twenty years, and strongly believes by focusing on children's rights, we can positively shape tomorrow's world. For twelve years, he served as the director of the International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO) in Brussels where he was dedicated to championing the cause of children in conflict with the law. He built an international network of more than 10k practitioners from criminal justice, academia, and advocacy to develop research and advocacy programs targeting the United Nations, the Council of Europe, and the European Union institutions an other regional mechanisms. He created regional expert councils on child justice in Europe, Asia-Pacific, North America, and Latin America to foster exchanges of promising practices in law reform and in alternative measures to deprivation of liberty such as restorative justice programs for children.


Globally, he continues to advocate for mental health for children in conflict with the law through his European research on "Mental Health Resources for Young Offenders (MHYO) which reflects the development of a European binding Directive on procedural safeguards for children suspected or accused in criminal proceedings. Mr. Foussard now coordinates the World Congresses on Justice for Children in collaboration with the International Association of Youth and Family Judges and Magistrates, Penal Reform International, and Terre des hommes Foundation. One key goal of the World Congress is to bring together voices from different dimensions of child justice to share good practices and create collaboratives across the world.


He has contributed to a range of publications, including co-editing “Violence Against Children in the Criminal Justice System : Global Perspectives on Prevention” (Routledge , 2020).



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Sheryl Wilson - NACRJ

Sheryl R. Wilson is the Director of the Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (KIPCOR) which is one of the oldest regional peace institutes in the U.S. KIPCOR offers an array of resources in conflict resolution and peacebuilding, restorative justice education and training, and consulting and intervention services. Sheryl currently serves as President of the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice, a professional organization for restorative justice practitioners. She also serves on the Advisory Council on Dispute Resolution for the State of Kansas Office of Judicial Administration. Sheryl has been a practitioner, trainer and educator in restorative justice for over fifteen years and has had the honor of working with individuals from around the world in her practice. She holds both a Bachelor of Science degree in Mediation and Communication Studies and a restorative justice-based Master of Liberal Studies degree from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Beginning her restorative justice career as a trainer and research associate at the Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking in the School of Social Work at the University of Minnesota, Sheryl developed and facilitated Victims, Offenders, Community, A Restorative Experience (VOCARE) dialogues in Minnesota correctional facilities. Sheryl also worked as a community mediator with the Victim Offender Conferencing program in Washington County, Minnesota.


As a researcher, she was actively involved in the evaluation of the VOCARE prison-based program. Her work in victim offender dialogue at Minnesota Department of Corrections is featured in an A & E Network pilot, “Confrontation.” She has served as a Special Projects Coordinator for the Georgia Council for Restorative Justice (GCRJ), a program of Georgia State University. Her work with GCRJ centered on Defense Initiated Victim Outreach work in death penalty cases.

In her spare time, Sheryl is working on various writing projects that explore the relationship between the restorative justice movement and racial reconciliation. She recently completed a chapter of Colorizing Restorative Justice (June 2020), a book about restorative justice practitioners of color and the challenges they face. 

Workshop #1 : New Zealand

This panel will discuss the current restorative initiatives occurring in Aotearoa New Zealand. It will specifically address work done in the adult justice space through cultural engagement and Iwi Community Justice Panels, and restorative practices elsewhere in the public and private sectors, including in healthcare, the workplace, and tertiary education.

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Jane Bolito


Jane Bolitho is the Diana Unwin Chair in Restorative Justice which serves as the focus for collaborative, interdisciplinary research and teaching on restorative justice theory and practice. She is a social scientist trained in the disciplines of psychology and sociology. Her work explores the experiences of those coming before criminal justice systems and the operations of formal and community-based justice systems.

Sarah Roth Shank


Sarah Roth Shank is a restorative justice researcher, trainer and practitioner. She has a PhD in public policy and restorative justice, with a research focus on the institutionalization of restorative justice. Sarah works with the Diana Unwin Chair in Restorative Justice and is a senior consultant at Aspen Restorative Consulting. 

Simon Kairau


Simon Kairau is a Senior Sergeant: District Māori/Pacific/Ethnic Advisor. He maintains a strong cultural/indigenous footprint within the New Zealand Police Service holding a number of portfolios such as supported resolutions. He is a recipient of the Woolf Fisher Police Fellowship from the Woolf Fisher Family Foundation in New Zealand for his work with Alternative Justice through Iwi Community Panels. In November 2019 he presented as an international keynote speaker at the Canadian National Restorative Justice Symposium in Banff Alberta. He has a passion for building indigenous capability to work with communities and partners, collectively working towards the common goal of reducing offending rates.

Alex Zuur


Alex Zuur is a restorative justice facilitator, researcher and social worker with significant experience in designing and implementing trauma informed responses to harm in front line and institutional contexts.  She has a strong foundation in front line street outreach, advocacy and case facilitation and is now passionate about the application and implementation of restorative frameworks to different situations of sexual harm.

Workshop #2 : Oakland, CA

"Envisioning a future where justice heals"

Community Works envisions a future where justice heals. We know we are not alone. In this workshop, we aim to bring together restorative practitioners who are responding to violence in ways that do not involve criminalization. Our hope is to connect some of our dreaming and doing in service of learning from one another. At the end of this 40 minute workshop, participants will have (1) created a collaborative map of JustCommunity; (2) reached a basic understanding of the impact restorative justice diversion is having in two counties in northern California, U.S.A.; and (3) learned about other community-led justice initiatives to address interpersonal harm and violence. 

Annabelle Berrios

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Annabelle Berríos identifies as a tri-racial Latine woman who was raised in a community-centered culture in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She attended Boston College and Boston College Law School, where she was a recipient of the Public Interest Law Foundation Award. She practiced law for 13 years, mostly in the criminal field. She later obtained a Master of Arts in East West Psychology at the California Institute for Integral Studies, where she focused her studies on the parallel process of individual transformation and social change. She served as Advocacy & Training Manager at the Contra Costa Family Justice Center, where she designed and implemented a leadership program where Black and Latinx survivors of interpersonal violence developed and executed independent, self-directed community projects.

Jenna Kress


Jenna Kress was born and raised in the Washington DC Area, and is now living in Oakland California, USA. She received a Bachelor in Social Work degree from the University of Georgia and went on to earn a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Washington in Seattle. Through her education and study abroad experience in Cape Town, South Africa, Jenna has been able to support individuals and families impacted by interpersonal violence and mass incarceration. Since moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, she has been working at Community Works as a Senior Coordinator for the Restorative Community Conferencing (RCC) program, the first program to implement the nationwide Restorative Justice Diversion model in Alameda County, California, USA. Jenna is committed to fostering meaningful experiences and dialogue to promote community building and healing.

Workshop #3 : Europe

"Responding to harmful conflict restoratively, a human rights practice within a systemic perspective"


The three contributors will offer some very diverse examples of RJ projects in their countries in England, Northern Ireland and the Basque Country of Spain that address the tensions between micro/meso/macro variables or factors in relation to their operationalization as healing and, at the same time, transformative justice. The latest edition of the UN Handbook on RJ programs, in particular its chapter on so called serious crimes, will be considered  to open a debate on the possibilities for RJ to contribute to change the structural conditions of harm producing contexts.

Gerry Johnstone


Gerry Johnstone is Professor of Law at the University of Hull, UK, where he has taught since 1989. He is best known for his work analysing the ideas and values of restorative justice. He is the author of Restorative Justice: Ideas, Values, Debates (Willan, 2002, 2nd edn. Routledge 2011), editor of A Restorative Justice Reader (Willan, 2003, 2nd edn. Routledge 2013) and co-editor with Daniel W. Van Ness of Handbook of Restorative Justice (Willan, 2007). He is an associate editor of The International Journal of Restorative Justice. His most recent book (co-edited with Iain Brennan) is Building Bridges: Prisoners, Crime Victims and Restorative Justice (Eleven, 2019). He is currently undertaking a study of the restorative justice movement.

Gema Varona


Gema Varona is a lecturer in Victimology and Criminal Policy at the University of the Basque Country (Spain) and coordinator of the RJ Theory & Practice Lab at the Basque Institute of Criminology. In 1998 she was honoured with the Junior Scholar Competition Award of the International Society of Criminology for her research on restorative justice in Romani and non-Romani communities. She has authored books and articles on migration and human rights, restorative justice, violence against women, victims of terrorism, and victims of sexual abuse.

Tim Chapman

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Tim Chapman spent 25 years working in the Probation Service in Northern Ireland. He played an active part in developing effective probation practice in the UK particularly through the publication of Evidence Based Practice, written jointly with Michael Hough and published by the Home Office. His ‘Time to Grow’ model for the supervision of young people has influenced youth justice practices. Since 2002 he has contributed to the development of restorative justice practice in both the community and statutory sectors in Northern Ireland. He lectured for 10 years at Ulster University in Northern Ireland developing and directing the Masters programme in Restorative Practices. During that time, he trained hundreds of people from various criminal justice, social work and civil society agencies to become restorative practitioners.


He has published widely on restorative justice and effective practice and has conducted significant research into restorative justice in Northern Ireland including the ALTERNATIVE project which focused on restorative justice and intercultural conflict. Two books have been published on this research. In 2015 he coauthored A European Model of Restorative Justice with Children and Young People (IIJO). He is currently researching the experiences of victims who have participated in restorative processes addressing serious harm. He has delivered training in restorative justice throughout the world, most recently for the UNODC. He is chair of the Board of the European Forum for Restorative Justice. He is Visiting Professor at Università degli Studi di Sassari and Visiting Scholar at Strathclyde University.

Workshop #4 : South America

"RJ in South and Central America"

This panel will focus on: 1. Brazil’s Association for the Protection and Assistance of Convicts (APAC) prison system that was founded by Dr. Mario Ottoboni in 1970 and its extraordinary results. While crime and recidivism have increased in Brazil's public prisons, they have steadily declined in APAC prisons. A short documentary trailer about APAC’s unique method, used today in 23 countries across four continents, will be shown. We will learn how APAC’s “recuperandos” (recovering incarcerated people) live daily firsthand from a panelist who has lived and worked in APAC prisons and why another recuperando believes: “no one escapes from love." 2. Mexico’s RJ movement specifically its teacher training to help prevent violence in Mexican high schools and how RJ practice is being applied by human rights NGOs and to address sexual harassment in Mexico. Finally, 3. the Life Comes From It fund that promotes of Indigenous peacemaking and the intersections of it with RJ, transformative justice, as well as work on land-based healing initiatives will be shared. 

Simonetta D'Italia Wiener


Simonetta d'Italia Wiener is a longtime educator with degrees in law and art history, Simonetta d'Italia Wiener teaches Italian language, literature and film at St. Francis College in Brooklyn. Simonetta’s previous, Oaxaca-set documentary, The Awakened Heart, won a top prize at the Mexico International Film Festival. In 2001 she co-founded Camino Productions NYC with Giovanni Morricone. 

Katia Ornelas


Katia Ornelas is a Mexican attorney with a Masters degree in Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding from the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University. She founded Ornelas Konsultant a consultancy firm based in Mexico comprised of a network of specialists from Mexico, Peru, Argentina and the U.S., with expertise in peacemaking, restorative justice, transformative justice and a variety of other areas. Katia applied her long time yoga and meditation practices for the intersection between the fields of restorative justice, trauma healing and resilience to create frameworks, processes and tools. She was trained in the circle process in 2012, and since 2017 became one of Kay Pranis’s apprentices.

Izabela Sanches Barcelar


Izabela was born in Santa Barbara, Minas Gerais, Brazil and spent several years  in APAC (the Association for the Protection and Assistance of Convicts) the innovative Brazilian prison system centered on the full recovery and rehabilitation of the person. She then worked as an Inspector of Security in the female APAC in IItaúna. Izabela recently received her university degree in public security.

Seth Lennon Weiner


Seth Lennon Weiner is a lawyer-by-training who has been working in the field of restorative justice since 2010. Seth was formerly a Co-Director of the Center for Restorative Justice at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, a Program Officer for restorative justice grant making with the Porticus Foundation in New York City, and Executive Director for the Wabanki cultural and healing center Nibezun in Passadumkeag, Maine. Seth currently leads the Life Comes From It fund which makes grants in the US focused on restorative justice, transformative justice and Indigenous peacemaking. Throughout his lifetime he has wondered about justice and healing and the ways in which they connect. What he has learned so far is that he is only at the beginning! Seth lives with his wife, their two young boys and his mother-in-law.

Workshop #5 : Africa, Nepal, & Singapore

RJ Practice Principles in Africa & Asia

Restorative practitioners are often asked to explain, “what is restorative about your practice?” In this session, panelists from Africa, Nepal and Singapore will discuss principles that guide their practice, so that practice becomes explicit while its application remains culturally contextualized. The panelists will describe what is it that they do, why, and the conditions that facilitate restorative experiences for the people that they work with. Participants in this panel discussion are welcome to test the principles against their practice assumption for resonance, and discover if it can be universally applied with appropriate cultural sensitivity.

Justin Mui

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Justin Mui is Executive Director of Lutheran Community Care Services Ltd in Singapore. Believing that entrenched mindsets perpetuate similar solutions, and relationships are the conduit for transformation, Justin has created safe spaces for stakeholders to have conversations that matter. These include peacemaking amongst residents-in-conflict in public housing, rebuilding communities of care for ex-offenders and addressing school bullying by widening the circle of support. As an advocate for Restorative Practice, Justin believes that civil society can be strengthened when people are provided opportunities to have the ‘missing conversation’, to talk about what matters most in building and sustaining relationships. He is also Board Chairman of SteppingStones Pte Ltd, a social enterprise that helps facilitate child adoption through matching prospective adoptive parents to break the hurt cycle for children desperately in need of a loving and nurturing home.

Ram Tiwari, JD

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Ram Tiwari is the Founder Chair of Nepal Forum for Restorative Justice. A lawyer by academic and professional background, he has been working in the fields of restorative justice and peacebuilding in Nepal for over 13 years. Apart from serving as a member of a task-force to prepare Nepal's first national Restorative Justice Curriculum, he has been involved in introducing and establishing restorative justice in judicial and community contexts. He has served as a member of the Expert Committee in reviewing the UN Handbook on Restorative Justice Programmes, a member of the Restorative Justice Working Group at the Office of Justice Programs, Department of Justice (USA), and recently, an International Expert on Restorative and Transitional Justice for the UN Office in Somalia.

Professor Don John O. Omale

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Professor Don John O. Omale PhD is a British Chevening Scholar of Criminology; and Professor of Criminology at the Federal University Wukari Taraba State, Nigeria. He holds BSc Psychology (University of Nigeria, Nsukka), MSc Criminology (University of Leicester, UK) and PhD Criminology with specialism in Restorative Justice & Victimology at the Centre for Community and Criminal Justice, De-Montfort University Leicester, England, UK. He voluntarily disengaged from the Nigerian Prisons Service as Assistant Controller of Prisons (ACP), and has directed Research and Training at the Prisons Staff College Kaduna, and the Nigerian Defence Academy Kaduna respectively. He is an International Advisory Board member to the Restorative Justice Initiative Midland, UK, the Community of Restorative Researchers, UK and Restorative Justice International. He is the “Africa Book Review Correspondent” to the International Journal of Restorative Justice at the Catholic University, Leuven, Belgium; a member of the World Society of Victimology and Fellow of the Institute of Criminology and Penology, Lagos, Nigeria; and he authored ‘Restorative Justice and Victimology: Euro-Africa Perspectives’ published in The Hague, Netherlands by Wolf Legal Publishers.

Professor Don John O. Omale is the Founder of the African Forum for Restorative Justice (

Workshop #6 : Canada, US, and England

"RJ in Canada, the US, and England"

Brenda Morrison from Canada will reflect on her 20 years working in RJ. Her talk will reflect on the creative edge of restorative justice, while pondering how to encourage energy to emerge in new forms without losing the integrity and essence of restorative justice. Penelope Griffith (originally from the Caribbean island Granada) is currently in Washington DC and she will discuss the healing circle that applies RJ and the solution-focused approach for women involved in the justice system. The healing circle is implemented by the non-profit organization Ms. Griffith directs, and is a replication of the Hawai‘i reentry planning model developed in 2005. Barb Toews from Washington state will talk about how research into the relationship between RJ and environmental design and an increased awareness of trauma and racial justice has led her to reevaluate her relationship to restorative justice work in prison and movements for decarceration and prison abolition. Marian Liebmann from England will discuss recent developments in the UK using restorative justice to address hate crimes. Kristine Hill from upstate New York will 

Penelope Griffith


Ms. Griffith, LICSW, is an internationally recognized trainer and facilitator in solution-focused and restorative based family group conferencing and circle processes. Ms. Griffith directs Collaborative Solution for Communities in Washington, DC and helped establish and lead DC’s Gang Intervention Partnership. She works with individual youth and communities to prevent retaliatory violence by providing support to help victims of youth violence and their families, re-establish and revive family and community norms around youth violence, increase the use of healing circles, which replicates Hawai‘i’s reentry circle model, to restore relationships between offenders and victims, and increase overall capacity to implement positive youth development strategies in underserved communities.

Marian Liebmann


Dr Marian Liebmann was director of Mediation UK, and now works as a restorative justice practitioner and trainer in the UK; she has worked in several African and East European countries. She is involved in helping Bristol to become a restorative city. She has written/ edited 12 books, including Restorative Justice: How It Works. She is also an art therapist and has applied these skills to work in mediation and restorative justice.

Barb Toews


Barb Toews is Associate Professor in criminal justice at University of Washington Tacoma. Her research focuses on the relationships among criminal/restorative justice, architecture and environmental design, and psycho-social-behavioral-judicial outcomes for victims, offenders, and justice professionals. Her research is meant to inspire a justice architecture and environmental design that reflects restorative justice values and goals of accountability and healing. Barb has numerous publications related to restorative justice, including its relationship to design. Prior to becoming an academic, she held leadership positions in criminal/restorative justice non-profit organizations.

Brenda Morrison


Brenda is Simon Fraser University’s Director of the Research and Engagement Centre for Restorative Justice. She is a social psychologist with teaching, research and field experience in outdoor education, governance and justice.  She completed her PhD at the Australian National University, where she also worked as a Post-Doc at the ANU Centre for Restorative Justice. In these pandemic times, she live, works and plays (24/7) on Nexwlélexwm (Bowen Island), the traditional unceded territory of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation. 

Kristine Hill


Circle Weaver Kristine Hill, a member of the Tuscarora Nation, part of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, approaches her work in healing and peacemaking with Indigenous perspective. This includes caring for the whole community; experience-grounded trust that people can and do change; integrating compassion and no-nonsense, honest communication; and skills in non-violence. She brings over 20 years of experience as an educator, organizational administrator, and facilitator of diverse, complex communities. She has actively engaged in trauma healing for over 10 years and has been cultivating her spiritual practice for over 30 years. Having raised four children who are all making contributions to the wider community, she is now bringing her skills and abilities to local, national and international organizations as a restorative practitioner, organizational healing conductor, and speaker on Indigenous concerns and peacemaking for multiple different initiatives. Her everyday life is about building relationships, reducing harms, and restoring communication and communities. In addition to her home on her people's territory, she is sojourning the traditional homeland of the Mohican/Mahican peoples in the Hudson Valley, New York. She works to honor her great-grandmother and grandmother, both having endured residential schools twice, by working to maintain a positive outlook and helping others.

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