This course will train students to implement restorative justice principles in legal practice. Students will learn how to facilitate restorative justice circles & how to incorporate restorative justice into their daily lives. The course will be facilitated through an interdisciplinary framework which combines the head & heart with the aim of cultivating compassionate lawyers committed to transforming themselves & the justice system. We will identify practices which nurture & strengthen the inner life and the connection between the inner life & well-being of lawyers & the quality of legal practice. To transform the justice system through restorative justice, future lawyers must be committed to transforming themselves & their way of being in the world.
We explore the roots of restorative justice, contemporary examples of its application in post-conflict settings in the US & the world, and examine its utility in addressing the pressing mass incarceration crisis, the current penal system & mode of punishment in the US. We will practice & apply Critical Race & Systems Theories to sharpen the students? ability to assess themselves, & their future clients, through a systems lens & to examine the impact of racism, sexism, gender discrimination & other systems of oppression on behavior & on the justice system. Three classes will take place at MCI Norfolk medium security prison on Sundays. Grades will be based upon attendance, participation, facilitation skills, & written assignments.