Implementing Restorative Justice in Rhode Island Schools

Research Report

Implementing Restorative Justice in Rhode Island Schools

First-Year Implementation of Case Conferencing

Abstract

Restorative justice provides a possible alternative to exclusionary responses (e.g., suspension) to student misbehavior. A set of schools in Rhode Island is testing one restorative justice approach, family group conferencing with misbehaving students. This report concerns the first year of implementation. This report finds that, over the first year of implementation, family conferencing requires a consistent referral process, which in turn depends on buy-in and support from school administrators, disciplinary staff, and teachers. Pre-conference work and post-conference follow-up maximize the effectiveness of restorative agreements reached in conference. Successful family group conferencing addresses deeper causes of misbehavior, helps students understand their actions, repairs harm, and develops supportive relationships.

Centers

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