RJW/What We Do

Mission

Restorative Justice (RJ) Westchester is a countywide, multi-sector network of practitioners, advocates and community members seeking to increase support for, and access to, restorative justice approaches for all Westchester residents, especially our youth.

 

Vision

Our vision is that restorative justice is widely used as an effective, evidence-based alternative to retributive criminal justice policies and punitive discipline to reduce violence and empower our communities to collaborate for the dignity and safety of everyone.

 

When embraced broadly, restorative justice builds empathy, restores dignity, enables accountability and healing, and strengthens communities as we create a just society in which all lives have equal value.

Overview

In 2021, Restorative Justice Westchester did all this and more:

  • Monthly Community Building: 10 powerful gatherings to welcome guests far and wide including conversations with DA Mimi Rocah and staff, Kristine Hill doing RJ locally and across the country, the Family Services of Westchester RJ team and their remarkable work throughout the county, and Priscilla Prutzman from Creative Response to Conflict.

  • Training: 21 new practitioners participated in 40 hours of RJ training, followed by weekly mentorship sessions to deepen their skills. Restorative Justice Training for Mount Vernon Schools.

  • Webinars and Presentations: organized two webinars on RJ with Anti-Racist Alliance and gave numerous presentations introducing RJ around the county. You can listen to “Advancing Restorative Justice in Westchester” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqemoUpdebQ and “Moving Toward Healing in our Criminal Justice System” here: https://youtu.be/W75XbzpkK-U¦nbsp; and the final segment here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtFWnTC1Zjk

  • Advocacy: Many of us are participating a Restorative Justice Task Force the DA established to guide the office in establishing a robust RJ program. We met with County Legislators and the Commissioner of Probation to encourage restorative alternatives to youth incarceration.

  • Grants: Westchester Community Foundation for the training and National Association of Community and Restorative Justice for Community Building Circles on Police Reform and Reinvention.

  • Collaborations: Alternatives to Incarceration Coalition, Anti-Racist Alliance, Ceremony Cerebellum, CLUSTER (www.clusterinc.org), Creative Center for Conflict Resolution, Creative Response to Conflict, CURE - The CoalitionFor Understanding Racism Through Education (https://www.learnwithcure.com), Family Services of Westchester, RAPP Campaign - Release Aging People in Prison (https://rappcampaign.com), WESPAC, Westchester Coalition for Police Reform, Youth Shelter of Westchester.


What’s ahead:

  • Monthly Community Building Continues, second Tuesday 3:30-5:00 p.m.

  • Second Annual Restorative Justice Training July 18-20 and August 1-2, followed by mentorship program

  • Restorative Justice Outreach and Training (En ESPAÑOL!)

  • Community Circles on Police Reform & Reinvention

  • More presentations, webinars, outreach and support for RJ around the county and beyond, including a panel at the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice: “Eye of the Dragonfly: RP & RJ Models of Abundance in Schools and beyond”