Can ‘restorative practices’ in schools get at the root of bad behavior? The idea is being tested

April 19, 2018. The Post and Courier.

The two boys were play-fighting, until suddenly they weren’t. The slap rang out at Northwoods Middle School.

Students at Northwoods are bound by the same rules and consequences as anyone else in the Charleston County School District. But thanks to a pilot program that started at their school and four others last year, the students also have a unique opportunity to face one another and make amends for their mistakes.

The pilot program is known as “restorative practices,” an approach to resolving conflicts that emphasizes personal responsibility and healing relationships. The approach was developed by Australian police to work with juvenile offenders in the 1990s, and it has since spread to schools worldwide.

PEACE calls for community IDs, slams commissioners who skipped meeting

April 18, 2018. Palm Beach Post.

More than 2,000 people attended a community meeting at the Palm Beach County Convention Center Monday evening, but organizers were miffed that figure wasn’t a little larger.

Officials from the social activism group People Engaged in Active Community Efforts called out six of the county’s seven commissioners for skipping the gathering, saying the commissioners’ absences underscored the county’s lack of progress in addressing homelessness and the creation of a community identification card that could be used by immigrants who don’t have a government-issued one.

“Are you disappointed that six of our seven county commissioners did not see fit to meet with well over 2,000 of their constituents?” Jason Fairbanks, pastor of the First Congregational United Church of Christ, asked audience members. “Our community needs to know who stood with us and who did not.”

City leaders commit to critical problem solutions

April 17, 2018. WHAS 11.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – It was a crowded auditorium Tuesday night, as hundreds from the organization, CLOUT, offered their solutions for some of Louisville Metro’s most critical problems: affordable housing, mental illness and school safety.

CLOUT, the Citizens of Louisville Organized and United Together asked city leaders like JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio to commit to putting restorative practices in 10 more schools by the 2019-20 school year.

Criminal justice group’s spokeswoman says expanding Douglas County Jail would contribute to nation’s mass incarceration problem

April 11, 2018. Lawrence Journal-World.

Rising jail populations among smaller jurisdictions such as Douglas County are contributing to mass incarceration in the United States, a spokeswoman for a national criminal justice policy organization said at a gathering Wednesday night.

Jasmine Heiss, director of outreach for In Our Backyards of the Vera Institute of Justice, spoke at Lawrence’s Carnegie Building at the invitation of Justice Matters, Kansas Appleseed and the University of Kansas’ Department of African and African-American Studies. Heiss said part of her role at the Vera Institute is advising municipalities like Douglas County on how to reduce the number of people they jail.

Justice Matters and Kansas Appleseed both oppose the half-cent sales tax that’s been proposed as a funding source for an expansion of the Douglas County Jail.

Douglas County Commission may be forced to put new mental health, tax plan on November ballot

April 9, 2018. Lawrence Journal-World.

Leaders with Justice Matters announced Monday they will start a legally binding petition drive to get on the November ballot an alternative to the $11 million behavioral health campus Douglas County has proposed.

If successful, the petition drive will ask county voters to approve a 3.5 mill levy increase to help fund the development of a crisis center and its operation, said Ben MacConnell, Justice Matters lead organizer. Using 2017 assessment figures, the mill levy would raise an estimated $4.2 million. It is proposed the tax would sunset in 10 years, unless approved again by voters.