This post was written by David Hartnagel, Associate at Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green PA and member of the 2015-2016 PILP Class:
On June 28, 2016, the BBA will be hosting a Juvenile Restorative Justice Symposium that will bring together legislators, law enforcement, court officials, and community leaders to discuss how restorative justice is being implemented, its challenges and successes, and the prospect for its expansion in the Commonwealth.
Among the participants expected to attend will be members of the Restorative Justice Coalition of Massachusetts. The Coalition brings together concerned citizens who practice or support restorative justice in various capacities throughout the Commonwealth. Formed in 2009, after Senator Jamie Eldridge publicly-announced his intention to introduce restorative justice legislation, the Coalition brings together representatives from a wide array of organizations including, among others, Communities for Restorative Justice, Massachusetts Conference United Church of Christ, Restorative Justice Practices New Bedford, and the Worcester Homeless Action Committee.
Jennifer Larson Sawin, former Executive Director of Communities for Restorative Justice and one of the founders of the Coalition, describes that the Coalition’s primary mission is to help craft, strategize, and advocate for restorative justice legislation that will allow for RJ to be employed more uniformly across all the Commonwealth’s communities. Restorative Justice efforts in Massachusetts, Sawin recounts, “rose up from the grassroots but for many years were not well-known and well-spread. But over time there has been a groundswell of interest, with efforts afoot throughout the Commonwealth, as more people understood that the ‘tough on crime’ social experiments that were being used were just not working.”
The BBA invites everyone to attend the upcoming RJ symposium and looks forward to what should be an engaging discussion on this prescient topic.
For more information about the symposium or to register, please click here.