Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth [RJOY]

In 2005, Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth [RJOY] was co-created by Fania Davis and members of the Oakland community and government. RJOY works to implement programs within schools, the community and juvenile justice system; beginning with a pilot program at West Oakland middle school in 2007. In the places where restorative justice has been implemented, there has been a noticeable decrease in youth violence, crimes and recidivism; and an increase in victim satisfaction and reconciliation of affected parties.

RJOYRestorative justice provides an alternative to our current retributive justice system, by shifting to bring in all affected parties, addressing the harms done and find ways to heal all affected parties. Our current justice system is designed to answer the questions: “Who did what and how can we punish them?” In contrast, restorative justice asks the questions:

“Who was harmed? What are the needs and responsibilities of all those affected? “How do all affected parties come together to heal?”

Restorative justice has had remarkable success in shifting the way that justice is carried out to better benefit the affected parties and community as a whole. Modern practices of restorative justice have been around for 30+ years, but are grounded in ancient, indigenous justice practices.

To learn more about restorative justice and Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth [RJOY], check out the site here.

From the site…

The dramatic successes of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in healing the wounds of mass violence in South Africa and of restorative juvenile justice legislation in making youth incarceration virtually obsolete in New Zealand inspired civil rights attorney and community activist Fania E. Davis to explore the possibility of an Oakland initiative. In 2005, others joined the effort, including Oakland City Councilmember Nancy Nadel and community activist Aeeshah Clottey. Nancy hosted a series of meetings at her office, attended by community members, judges, educators, law students and representatives of the District Attorney’s, Public Defender’s, and Human Services offices. With a small grant from Measure Y, Oakland’s voter-approved violence prevention initiative, Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY) was born.

Disparately impacting youth of color, punitive school discipline and juvenile justice policies activate tragic cycles of youth violence, incarceration, and wasted lives. Founded in 2005, RJOY works to interrupt these cycles by promoting institutional shifts toward restorative approaches that actively engage families, communities, and systems to repair harm and prevent re-offending. RJOY focuses on reducing racial disparities and public costs associated with high rates of incarceration, suspension, and expulsion. We provide education, training, and technical assistance and collaboratively launch demonstration programs with our school, community, juvenile justice, and research partners.

Beginning in 2007, RJOY’s city-funded West Oakland Middle School pilot project eliminated violence and expulsions, and reduced suspension rates by 87%, saving the school thousands in attendance and Title I funding. Inspired by the successes of our Middle School pilot, by May 2008, nearly 20 Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) principals requested training to launch programs at their sites. We have served over 1000 youth in Oakland’s schools. UC Berkeley Law’s Henderson Center for Social Justice evaluated the Middle School pilot and released a study in February 2011. A publication on implementing restorative initiatives in schools produced in collaboration with the Alameda County Health Care Agency is forthcoming. In 2010, the OUSD Board of Directors passed a resolution adopting restorative justice as a system-wide alternative to zero tolerance discipline and as an approach to creating healthier schools.

RJOY has enjoyed similar success in the juvenile justice arena. In 2007, we gave educational presentations to the Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Court and others. Impressed with the restorative justice model, the judge convened a Restorative Justice Task Force. RJOY provided education and training and helped initiate a planning process which engaged approximately 60 program directors- including probation, court, school, and law enforcement officials, as well as community-based stakeholders. In 2009, the group produced a Strategic Plan that charts reform of the county’s juvenile justice system through institutionalization of restorative justice. Two innovative restorative diversion and restorative re-entry projects focused on reducing disproportionate minority contact and associated public costs. The pilots have successfully served 19 youth of color. In collaboration with several partners, we now seek funding to expand the pilots.

RJOY has had programs at three school sites- West Oakland Middle School, Ralph Bunche Continuation School, and a three-year demonstration program at East Oakland’s Castlemont Community of Small Schools funded by a grant from The California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities Initiative. Goals of the demonstration program were to reduce violence, arrests, and suspensions (particularly of youth of color) while decreasing associated costs and promoting parent and community engagement.

Having trained and made presentations to more than 1500 key justice, community, school, and philanthropic stakeholders as well as youth in the Oakland metropolitan area, and having significantly influenced policy changes in our schools and juvenile justice system, RJOY has already made headway toward its strategic goal of effectuating a fundamental shift from punitive, zero tolerance approaches to youthful wrongdoing that increase harm toward more restorative approaches that heal it.

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UC Davis Extension: Conflict Resolution Courses

From UC Davis Extension, The Conflict Resolution Professional Concentration, which has proven tools to resolve conflicts, negotiate agreements, deal with difficult people, facilitate groups and build consensus. In a streamlined format composed of three courses, the program prioritizes theory and practical tools to equip students to resolve every type of conflict and positively impact people, organizations, programs and policies. These courses are designed for professionals seeking to further develop their effectiveness and leadership skills in a broad variety of fields including government, business, health care, education, human resources, law, land use, water and natural resources.

Who should attend

This program is designed for a broad audience—for those seeking conflict resolution skills to benefit their current careers and for those interested in a new career in conflict resolution. It is recommended for anyone interested in developing knowledge and skills in mediation, facilitation, collaborative decision-making and other forms of problem solving and conflict resolution.

The professional concentration can be completed in less than a year while working in a full-time position.

Courses required

Fall: Introduction to Conflict Resolution (online, 2 units) $795
Winter: Fundamental Conflict Resolution Skills (Sacramento 3-day course, 2 units), $795
Spring: Advanced Conflict Resolution Skills (Sacramento, 3-day course, 2 units) $795

If you enroll in all 3 courses at once, you pay a discounted price of $1,995.

***Please note, you must call (530) 752-0881 to enroll and receive the discounted price.

About the courses

Introduction to Conflict Resolution:
Become a vital problem-solver in your organization or community. Build a solid foundation in the basics of conflict resolution, and learn theory and new techniques for mediating conflicts and facilitating group dynamics. Discover leading models in the field and apply these to current cases using practical strategies to effectively transform conflicts.

Fundamental Conflict Resolution Skills:
Learn the communication skills and mediation models essential for successful conflict resolution. Practice facilitation skills and techniques required for successful group and team meetings. Learn strategies to minimize and address conflict in difficult conversations and with difficult people. Explore tools to assess and meaningfully engage diverse interests and participants.

Advanced Conflict Resolution Skills:
Discover collaborative methods and techniques for consensus building, negotiation and resolving complex conflicts. Learn to find mutually agreeable solutions to challenging situations so projects and programs can move forward. Gain leadership skills to address tough conflict and negotiation settings.

For more information or to enroll, call (800) 752-0881, email extension[at]ucdavis[dot]edu or visit the website here.

More about UC Davis Extension
UCD_Collab_CtrThe continuing and professional education division of UC Davis, has been an internationally recognized leader in educational outreach for individuals, organizations and communities for more than 50 years. With 62,000 annual enrollments in classroom and online university-level courses, UC Davis Extension serves lifelong learners in the growing Sacramento region, all 50 states and more than 115 countries.

Follow on Twitter: @UCDExtension

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Int’l Summer Certificate Program in Identity-Based Conflict Resolution

The Conflict Resolution, Management and Negotiation Graduate Program (CRMN) [in Hebrew] at Bar-Ilan University (BIU) has recently opened its International Summer Certificate Program in Identity-Based Conflict Resolution, in English. This Summer Program offers students the opportunity to earn 11 academic graduate credits and a certificate in a period of four weeks during the month of July.

Taught by leading scholars and practitioners, this is the only Israeli academic summer certificate program taught in English in the field of conflict resolution. It will examine international, national and local conflicts with a particular emphasis on identity-based conflicts. Its approach is interdisciplinary and addresses various perspectives such as psychology, law, culture, and religion. It offers a diverse student environment and consists of: simulations, guest lectures, an internship course (with two full day study tours), seminars, and workshops in providing theoretical insights and conflict resolution training. The Program will also organize various social events such as meetings with Israeli Jewish/Palestinian students, receptions, and cultural activities.

The Summer Program is comprised of the 5 following courses (each 2 credit hours, for two weeks):

  1. From Identity-Based Conflict to Identity-Based Cooperation
  2. Religion and Conflict Resolution
  3. Collective Memory, Narrative and Conflict
  4. Alternative Dispute Resolution and Culture
  5. Field Work/Internship (3 credits, four weeks) at leading think tanks and practitioner NGOs as well as guided excursions and meetings.

Applicants can register for any number of the courses. Applications are open to current graduate students and holders of undergraduate/graduate degrees, worldwide, from all fields and disciplines in liberal arts and the social sciences, as well as, to professionals and the general public.

For details contact Dr. Rafi Nets, Managing Director of the Summer Program, at rafi.nets-zehngut [at] biu [dot] ac [dot] il.

About the CRMN program
The Conflict Resolution, Management and Negotiation Graduate Program (CRMN) at BIU (est. 2000), which is operating this Summer Program, is an established Israeli CR program. Its students come from all walks of Israeli Jewish, Muslim and Christian societies and its professors merge practice and theory. It awards Masters and PhD degrees (in Hebrew), operates a Mediation Center, as well as sponsors international conferences, training programs and research. It also publishes the International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution, launched the first Religion and Conflict Resolution Masters Track in an Israeli university and founded the Israeli Association of Conflict Resolution.

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This resource was submitted by Dr. Rafi Nets, Managing Director of the BIU CRMN Summer Program, via the Add-a-Resource form.