August 3, 2012 in Community
On August 2, 2012 Cheshire Mediation and the Keene Public Library co-hosted a community forum on Restorative Justice. This forum provided the opportunity for community members to learn about restorative justice and its application in neighboring states. There was also discussion about what could be done here in Keene. The consensus of those present was that restorative justice would benefit the community here.
Many individuals in Keene are already working to make restorative justice part of the schools. Both Keene State College and Keene High School have restorative programs in place. In Maine, The Restorative Justice Project of the Midcoast works with schools to help establish more restorative practices. They provide trainings for school faculty and school boards on how to institute these ideas into their schools. They, like Keene, are also working to grow restorative justice into their community beyond the schools.
Restorative justice will grow in Keene if members of the community learn become more involved. One of the best opportunities to learn about restorative justice is just down the road at the Brattleboro Community Justice Center. Their restorative panels are open to the public so that people can see first hand how the restorative process works. They do ask that you call ahead to reserve your spot because space is limited. Then, if you decide that you would like to get more involved, you can ask to be trained as a volunteer to sit on a panel and participate in the restorative process.
Once there is a core group of people in Keene who are committed to restorative justice, we can call on the support of Communities for Restorative Justice in Massachusetts. They will send representatives to teach us more about how to bring restorative justice to our region. Their program was started by two women that had a desire to make their community better, and it has grown to provide service in 14 different towns.
Anyone who wants to get involved in Restorative Justice can. There is always something that can be done to help our community become more restorative.
- James Cooprider, Cheshire Mediation Intern