A group of community members sits together in a circle. Rotating around the room, each individual takes a turn speaking, sharing their concerns and thoughts about a recent injustice. Both victim and perpetrator sit within the circle as well. The group addresses the situation, working together to come up with a solution that involves healing, rebuilding, and repentance. This is Restorative Justice (RJ), and it’s gaining a great deal of momentum throughout the world.

RJ is an age-old approach to justice that focuses on the needs of the victims and offenders, as well as the involved community, rather than that of legal principles or punishment. “This is the opposite approach that we use in our formal justice system today, which views a crime as being against the state,” expresses Dale Lanigan, EdD, Chair of Sociology & Criminal Justice at Lourdes. “Often what ends up happening is that the victim and community are left out of the justice process, and therefore they never truly heal.”

This June, Lourdes University and The University of Toledo (UT) will host the 4th National Conference on Restorative Justice, featuring the following international speakers and experts in the field of Restorative Justice:

June 19

Angela Davis, PhD

  • Distinguished Professor Emerita of History of Consciousness, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Founding member of Critical Resistance, a national organization dedicated to dismantling the industrial prison complex
  • Affiliate of Sisters Inside, an abolitionist organization based in Australia that works in solidarity with women in prison

Online video: George Tonight: Angela Davis on abolishing prisons

Tim Wise

  • One of the “25 Visionaries who are Changing the World,” by Utne Reader
  • International speaker (in all 50 states, Canada and Bermuda, and on more than 800 campuses), and author of 6 books on race issues
  • Recipient of 2001 British Diversity Award for best feature essay on race issues
  • Regular contributor on CNN and ABC’s 20/20

Online video: Tim Wise on Social and Racial Justice

Marilyn Armour, PhD

  • Associate Professor and University Distinguished Teaching Professor in the School of Social Work, and Director of Restorative Justice & Restorative Dialogue at the University of Texas at Austin
  • Instrumental in Defense-Initiated Victim Outreach (DIVO) in Texas capital cases, and has provided DIVO training to Texas litigators 

Learn more:  Restoring Justice: Mediation programs aim to help victims heal and offenders account for their crimes


Robert Rico

June 20

Pete Lee

  • Colorado State Representative, District 18

Lynn Lee

  • Chair of the Pikes Peak Restorative Justice Council
  • John Gallagher Restorative Justice Volunteer of the Year award recipient

Sharletta Evans

  • Founder of Red Cross Blue Shield Gang Prevention Inc.

Online video: Representative Lee shares stories of Restorative Justice

Julius Bailey, PhD

  • Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Wittenberg University
  • Founder of Project Eight

Katherine van Wormer, PhD

  • Professor of Social Work at the University of Northern Iowa

Theo Gavrielides, PhD

  • Faculty at Buckinghamshire New University in the UK
  • Founder and Director of Independent Academic Research Studies (IARS)
  • Advisory Board Member of the Institute for Diversity Research, Inclusivity, Communities and Society (IDRICS)

June 21

Robert Yazzie, JD

  • Member of the Navajo Nation Bar Association
  • Visiting Professor at the University of New Mexico School of Law
  • Adjunct Professor of the Department of Criminal Justice at Northern Arizona University

Ericka Huggins

  • Professor in Sociology at Laney & Berkeley City College
  • Professor in Women’s Studies at California State University, East Bay
  • Black Panther Party’s longest running female leader

Online Video: Ericka Huggins on her husband’s assassination, and finding spiritual peace in prison