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Step 5: Set Action Steps

You have a specific goal and strategic guidelines. You have a sober understanding of your obstacles, but also of your resources. Now it is time to decide on specific action steps to help you accomplish your goal.

Action steps must be very specific. An example is "Present our program to the Civic Association meeting within the next two months and invite members to receive our newsletter". This example includes an activity (present our program), a date by when it will have been completed (within two months), and the desired outcome (sign up members for our newsletter).

Don't forget your goal when setting action steps. If the activities you consider will not help you achieve the goal, do not include them in your plan no matter how much you would enjoy doing them, or how useful they might be for other purposes. They won't help you accomplish your goal.

As you think about your action steps, read Kay Pranis' comments:

  • Education about restorative justice is essential. Building community support requires that people think about criminal justice issues from a restorative perspective. Ways of doing this include:
    • public speaking
    • distributing written materials
    • one-page informational pieces with more lengthy materials for those wanting more detail
    • radio interviews
    • TV shows
    • local news media
  • It is important to talk about the conceptual framework of restorative justice, but stories of real experiences bring those alive. Look for stories that relate to local personalities or local conditions. Stories that show how a satisfying restorative resolution involved the community and victims are especially effective. It is also useful to have stories that prove the failure or limitations of the current system. Having victims tell their own stories can be very powerful, showing both why the current system doesn't work and why a restorative process does.
  • Link people with common interests and complementary strengths. Involve community leaders in discussions about creating safe communities. Once community members become interested in a restorative approach, it is important to provide technical support for developing restorative practices within the community. Ways of offering technical support include:
    • providing responses to proposals
    • identifying expert resources
    • providing places for friendly and supportive contact
    • maintaining a resource library
    • being an enthusiastic 'cheerleader' to maintain enthusiasm and energy
  • Find your natural allies in the community. Listen to people and find out how restorative justice fits with their interests. Use language that 'connects' with your audiences. Some groups you might approach are those interested in violence prevention, underlying causes of crime, social justice, and building stronger neighborhoods. Educators may be interested in how restorative values help deal with school discipline problems. Law enforcement officials may be interested in increasing community involvement in crime prevention. Business people may be concerned about the high cost of the current system. Engage people in a discussion of their own worries, fears and concerns, and identify (where possible) how a restorative approach provides a potential solution to their problems.

What specific action steps have you decided on? If you are having trouble thinking of some, look at the case studies in Kay's paper for ideas.

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