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Restorative Justice Symposium Planned

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A symposium for Restorative Justice is being held next month in Casper, at the Ramkota Hotel and Convention Center. The symposium is being hosted by Natrona County Restorative Justice, also known as NCRJ.

NCRJ describes themselves as a voluntary nonprofit board who is committed to the promotion and development of Restorative Justice (or “RJ”) principles and practices. The group operates as an initiative of the Wyoming Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity. The stated goal of NCRJ is to provide Wyoming professionals and citizens with a professional expert level conference that will give attendees a comprehensive understanding of RJ principles and how RJ practices can be of benefit to communities.

In an official statement sent out to press, NCRJ says that RJ operates from the premise that when a rule or law is broken it ultimately is a violation of relationships. The statement reads: “Often times with our current policies and criminal procedures the focus is entirely on the offender, and victims and communities are left out of the process. A restorative approach recognizes that when an offense occurs it has a ripple effect. For individuals and communities to heal, it is important for the affected parties to become a part of the process of how these cases are handled. So not only does RJ promote building strong and safer communities, it can offer unique opportunities for healing and reparation.”

This symposium is designed for, though not limited to: educators, prosecutors and defense attorneys, judges, social service agencies, social workers, corrections professionals, legislators, victim advocates, and individual community members. Topics for the symposium will include: an overview of RJ’s origins, practices, and outcomes; its use in both juvenile and adult court systems; victim offender dialogue; RJ legislation; the use of RJ in a school setting; its use with juvenile diversion / probation; its use within a law enforcement agency; and personal recountings of a crime survivor’s experience with restorative justice.

This symposium will be unique in that it will conclude with a facilitated strategic planning session for communities to create a plan for their future restorative justice efforts. For more about restorative justice and for a link to register for the symposium, please visit the NCRJ website.

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