Building a Restorative Justice Dialogue Program: A Community and Government Partnership

With Dr. Mark Umbreit and Ted Lewis from the Center for Restorative Justice & Peacemaking (University of Minnesota)

Three Thursdays this past fall (Sept 29, Oct 6, Oct 13)

A three-session course for restorative justice stakeholder teams interested in promoting restorative justice programming.

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  • Are you in the early stages of building a team?

  • Does your agency need some guidance for setting a good foundation for sustainable programming that includes restorative dialogue models?

“Three Essential Building Blocks for Starting a New Restorative Justice Program” 

Dr. Mark Umbreit brings over 40 years of experience in helping government and community based agencies to develop restorative justice programming that is rooted in best-practice research and that includes safe, constructive dialogue between victims, offenders and community members as a centerpiece.

His associate Ted Lewis brings 20 years of experience in program management and is now a consultant and trainer for new programs that need help with design and development.  To read more about their bios, click here.

Host and facilitator Molly Rowan Leach is the director for Restorative Justice On The Rise.

The free introductory session is ideal to determine if you want to commit to the 3-session course.  The whole course can also be purchased for subsequent use in your organization’s professional development.

Three Essential Building Blocks for Starting a New Restorative Justice Program will explore:

  • Community-Government Partnership
  • Best Practices for Facilitation
  • Flexible Case-Management System

Webinar Course:



Building a Restorative Justice Dialogue Program: A Community and Government Partnership

Description Of Course:

Based on 60 years of collective work experience in managing restorative justice dialogue programs and helping to start new programs, Dr. Mark Umbreit and Ted Lewis, from the Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking (University of Minnesota), combine their wisdom to show how new programs can set a good, long-lasting foundation.

While their insights apply well to all restorative dialogue-based programming, victim offender conferencing will be highlighted throughout the three-session course. Both youth offender and adult offender related programming will apply. After a brief overview of restorative justice, the course will focus on practical knowledge for building a strong foundation for organizational sustainability.

Main themes include, stakeholder analysis, communication and negotiation skills to build partnership relationships, open collaboration between government and community stakeholders, establishing a case referral system that has a steady flow, adherence to best-practice facilitation standards that have stood the test of time according to research, building management systems for case development, client communications and evaluations, and working with community volunteers.

At the core of the teaching are anecdotes that reflect the power of transformative, heart-to-heart dialogue between victims, offenders and community members who have been prepared well for safe, constructive conversation to repair the harms caused by a crime.

The subtitles for each of the three sessions:

  • Session 1 (9/29):

    Sustainable Partnerships Between Community and Government Stakeholders

  • Session 2 (10/6):

    Best Practice Facilitation Standards That Can Adapt to a Wide Range of Casework

  • Session 3 (10/13):

    Effective Management Systems for Casework, Client Communications and Evaluations

This 3-part series can support you at many phases of your work in RJ and government professions--whether you and your organization are looking to start or are further along with some form of collaborative implementation.

Here are some of the key challenges, questions, and areas we’ll be looking at together:

1. How can community resources work better with government agencies

2. How can RJ dialogue programs meet the need for alternative sentencing in the US

3. How can you start new programming with limited or no funding?

4. Who are the people to start a restorative program?

5. How do you deal with conceptions of RJ that view it as being soft on crime?

6. How do you work with government stakeholders who are resistant to RJ?

7. What are the best practices in restorative programming that are research-based?

8. How do you track, analyze and sustain once a program has begun and how do you still keep the restorative “essence” or “essentials” alive and intact?

Faculty Bios

Dr. Mark Umbreit is a Professor and founding Director of the Center for Restorative Justice & Peacemaking at the University of Minnesota, School of Social Work. He is an internationally recognized practitioner and scholar with more than 40 years of experience as a mediator, peacemaker, trainer, teacher, and researcher.

  • His publications include nine books and more than 200 articles in the fields of restorative justice, mediation, spirituality, forgiveness, and peacemaking.
  • He has conducted training seminars and lectures throughout the world in over 20 countries.
  • Dr. Umbreit has helped establish restorative justice programs in nearly every state of the U.S. and numerous other countries.

His research has contributed significantly to restorative justice policy development in the U.S. For the past 30 years he has served as a consultant/trainer for the U.S. Department of Justice.

At the National Restorative Justice Conference in June of 2013 Mark was elected the founding President of the new National Association for Community and Restorative Justice.

Dr. Mark Umbreit

Ted Lewis is the Director of Communications at the Center for Restorative Justice & Peacemaking at the University of Minnesota.

Since 1996 he has worked in the fields of restorative justice and conflict resolution as a mediator/practitioner, program manager, trainer, director, teacher, writer, and consultant.

  • Most of this work has been done through nonprofit organizations that receive casework in partnership with government agencies.
  • Ted also services on the Advisory Council of the National Association for Community and Restorative Justice.

Building on 16 years of experience in program management for restorative dialogue work, Ted has more recently helped government and nonprofit agencies alike to be equipped with customized manuals for trainings and program implementation, protocol documents that fit well with the relevant agency partnerships in a given city or county, and evaluation tools for measuring the success of programming.

As a long-time trainer in restorative justice and victim offender conferencing, he is also well versed in grounding restorative programming in best practices and community volunteerism.

Ted Lewis

For more information about Mark and Ted:

Restorative Justice on the Rise

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