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Restoring justice: Sonoma County and beyond

Oct 06, 2014

from the article by John Beck in Sonomoa County Gazette:

Last summer, when the Santa Rosa City Schools District was looking for a way to curb the fourth highest rate of suspensions in the state, it turned to restorative justice as the solution.

“We were almost an outlier,” said Jen Klose, Santa City Schools board member. “We had truly become zero tolerance.”

Searching for a new paradigm for discipline, Santa Rosa City Schools board president Bill Carle said, “We started focusing on how do we do this in a different way, and that’s when we found restorative justice.”

Likewise, more than a decade ago, Sonoma Superior Court judge Arnold Rosenfield began looking for a new way to both keep juveniles from becoming repeat offenders and to help give a voice to everyone involved – something that had not been available in the traditional criminal justice system.

“In all the years I have been working in the juvenile and criminal justice system, restorative justice was the only thing that I saw that really had a chance of working for all the participants to experience some kind of positive outcome,” Rosenfeld said.

Restorative justice is quickly becoming the go-to solution for dealing with conflict resolution, school discipline and young offenders in Sonoma County.

"We like to call it justice through community, where justice is a choice we make together as a community,” said Susan Kinder, Restorative Resources executive director.

Read the whole article.

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