Restorative Practices Resources


Pranis, K. (2005) The Little Book of Circle Processes: A New/Old Approach to Peacemaking. Intercourse, PA: Good Books.

Pranis provides an overview of Circle Processes, the values and teachings that form their foundation, and key elements of the process. Interspersed with stories to illustrate the application, Pranis walks the reader through the process in a concise style that makes the book appropriate for academic classes, workshops, and trainings.

Pranis, K., Stuart, B., & Wedge, M. (2003). Peacemaking Circles: From Crime to Community. St.Paul, MN: Living Justice Press.

A time-tested paradigm for healing relationships and keeping them healthy, Peacemaking Circles explores how communities can respond to crimes in ways that address the needs and interests of all those affected—victims, offenders, their families and friends, and the community. Based on indigenous teachings, combined with current research in conflict resolution, the Circle process described here builds an intentionally safe space where we can bring our best selves to some of our most difficult conversations.Though the book relates the process to criminal justice, the explanation of Circle philosophy and practice can be readily applied to hurts and conflicts in other areas of life. Above all, the book offers a grounded vision for how we can be together “in a good way,” especially when it seems hardest to do. (publisher’s description)

Boyes-Watson, C. (2008) Peacemaking Circles and Urban Youth: Bringing Justice Home. St. Paul, MN: Living Justice Press

This book explores how the Circle process is being used by a remarkably innovative youth center outside Boston. Nearly twenty years in operation, Roca, Inc., works with immigrant, gang, and street youth. Using Circles extensively not only with youth but also with the families and community as well as throughout the organization is integral to Roca’s effectiveness.

Peacemaking Circles and Urban Youth tells a compelling and inspiring story for any organization or person who works with young people, particularly troubled youth who desperately need community-based support to change the trajectory of their lives. (publisher’s description)

Restorative Conferencing

MacRae, A. & Zehr, H. (2004). The Little Book of Family Group Conferences: New Zealand Style. Intercourse, PA: Good Books.

Family Group Conferences (FGCs) are the primary forum in New Zealand for dealing with juvenile crime as well as child welfare issues. This third volume in The Little Books of Justice and Peacebuilding Series is about the juvenile justice system that is built around these conferences. Since their introduction in New Zealand, FGCs have been adopted and adapted in many places throughout the world. They have been applied in many arenas including child welfare, school discipline, and criminal justice, both juvenile and adult. In fact, FGCs have emerged as one of the most promising models of Restorative Justice. This book describes the basics and rationale for this approach to juvenile justice, as well as how an FGC is conducted. (publisher’s description)

O’Connell, T., Wachtel, B. & Wachtel, T. (1999). Conferencing Handbook: The New Real Justice Training Manual. Pipersville, PA: The Piper’s Press.

This handbook is a clearly conceived procedural guide to coordinating and facilitating conferences, covering the process of selecting cases, inviting participants, making preparations and running the conference itself. It is useful to anyone who wants to learn to facilitate conferences in school, criminal justice and other settings. (publisher’s description)

Peer Juries

Alternatives, Inc. (2009) A Handbook for Peer Juries in Chicago Public Schools: 2008-2009. Chicago, IL: The Board of Education of the City of Chicago.
The purpose of this handbook is to share best practices that support the Chicago Public Schools Peer Jury program. While this handbook may offer general principles to other Peer Juries, it provides guidelines specific to school-based Peer Jury utilizing the Restorative Justice philosophy.

Goodwin, T. (2001) The Role of Restorative Justice in Teen Courts: A Preliminary Look. Lexington, KY: American Probation and Parole Association, National Youth Court Center.

The American Probation and Parole Association convened a focus group in March 2000 to examine and discuss the role of Restorative Justice in teen court programs, also commonly called youth courts and peer courts. There has been considerable debate and discussion over the past several years as to whether and how teen courts can incorporate Restorative Justice principles into their practices.

Olson, B. & Judah V. (2007) Chicago Public Schools High School Peer Jury Program Evaluation Report. Chicago, IL: Chicago Public Schools, Office of Specialized Services.

Peer Mediation

Cohen, R. (1999) The School Mediator’s Field Guide. Watertown, MA: School Mediation Associates
An essential resource for every teacher, administrator, counselor, and student who mediates in schools. Learn how to mediate the range of challenging school-based conflicts.

Frasier Region Community Justice Initiatives. (n.d.). Conversation Peace. Langly, B.C.: Frasier Region Community Justice Initiatives Association.

Conversation Peace is a curriculum carefully designed to train secondary students and staff in Restorative Action principles and conflict resolution skills for implementing effective and meaningful responses to harm. A restorative response addresses the underlying causes of conflict while bringing about accountability, healing and closure in situations such as name calling, threats, exclusion, interpersonal conflicts, property violation, physical assault and vandalism. The trainer kit consists of a comprehensive, step-by-step manual and two videos. Also available are workbooks essential to the curriculum that facilitate the skill-building process. Conversation Peace was developed by the combined efforts of CJI and the Langley School District #35 through the Educating for Peacebuilding program.

Benefits and Outcomes

International Institute for Restorative Practices (2009) Improving School Climate: Findings From Schools Implementing Restorative Practices. Retrieved July 22, 2009 from: (PDF)

The International Institute for Restorative Practices has compiled a 36-page booklet of findings from schools in the United States, England, and Canada that are implementing restorative practices. The booklet includes brief portraits of each school or district, focusing on how school climate has changed due to restorative practices, as well as data on reductions in school violence, discipline problems, suspensions, and expulsions/exclusions. (from the International Institute for Restorative Practices e-Forum)

Karp, D, and Breslin, B. (2001). Restorative Justice in School Communities. Youth and Society. 33 (2): 249-272.

This article explores the recent implementation of these practices in school communities in Minnesota, Colorado, and Pennsylvania, examining how school communities can make use of this approach to address drug and alcohol problems and how this approach may offer an alternative to zero-tolerance policies. (excerpt)

Minnesota Department of Children, Families and Learning (2001). In-School Behavior Intervention Grants Final Report 1999-2001. Roseville, MN: Minnesota Department of Children, Families and Learning.

In 1998, the Minnesota Legislature appropriated $300,000 to the Department of Children, Families & Learning (CFL) for the implementation and evaluation of alternative approaches to suspensions and expulsions. Each of the four districts [selected] implemented a range of restorative practices and developed an evaluation plan aimed at measuring the impact in five areas: suspensions, expulsions, attendance, academics, and school climate. This final report includes a summary of restorative activities practiced in each district; program implementation challenges; and recommendations for further evaluation efforts. (excerpts)

Identify the Need and Recognize Better Outcomes are Possible

Advancement Project (May 2003). Derailed: The Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track. Retrieved July 29, 2009 from: http://www.

This is a first-of-its-kind report that looks at how zero-tolerance policies are derailing students from an academic track in schools to a future in the juvenile justice system.

Advancement Project (March 2005). Education on Lockdown: The Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track. Retrieved July 29, 2009 from: http://www.

This is Advancement Project’s second examination of the emergence of zero tolerance school discipline policies and how these policies have pushed students away from an academic track to a future in the juvenile justice system.

American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on School Health. (2003). Policy Statement: Out-of-School Suspension and Expulsion. Pediatrics. Vol. 112: 5.

Suspension and expulsion from school are used to punish students, alert parents, and protect other students and school staff. Suspension and expulsion may exacerbate academic deterioration, and when students are provided with no immediate educational alternative, student alienation, delinquency, crime, and substance abuse may ensue.

American Psychological Association Zero Tolerance Task Force. (Dec 2008). Are zero tolerance policies effective in the schools?: An evidentiary review and recommendations. American Psychologist. Vol. 63(9), 852-862.

To assess the extent to which current practice benefits students and schools, the American Psychological Association convened a task force to evaluate the evidence and to make appropriate recommendations regarding zero tolerance policies and practices. An extensive review of the literature found that, despite a 20-year history of implementation, there are surprisingly few data that could directly test the assumptions of a zero tolerance approach to school discipline, and the data that are available tend to contradict those assumptions.

Costenbader, V. & Markson, S. (1998). School Suspension: A Study with Secondary School Students. Journal of School Psychology. Vol. 36: 1, p59-82.

A survey on school suspension was conducted with 620 middle and high school students. Two school districts, located in an inner city and a rural town, were represented. Students who had been suspended were more likely to be involved with the legal system. The efficacy of school suspension is questioned.

Flemming, P. & Rose, J. (2007). Overrepresentation of African American Students in Exclusionary Discipline The Role of School Policy. Urban Education. Vol. 42: No. 6 p. 536.

The overrepresentation of ethnic minority students, particularly African American males, in the exclusionary discipline consequences of suspension and expulsion has been consistently documented during the past three decades. Sadly, a direct link between these exclusionary discipline consequences and entrance to prison has been documented and termed the school-to-prison pipeline for these most vulnerable students.

Karp, S. (June 2009). Black Male Conundrum. Catalyst Chicago. Retrieved July 29, 2009 from:

Nearly one in four black male students in Chicago Public Schools was suspended at least once last year, a rate that is twice as high as the district average. This finding is also part of an upward trend that has resulted in a near doubling of the number of suspended students over the past five years, according to a Catalyst Chicago analysis.

Ofer, U., Jones, A., Miller, J., Phenix, D., Bahl, T., Mokhtar, C., and Madar, C. (July, 2009). Safety with Dignity: Alternatives to the Over-Policing of Schools. New York: New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), The Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University, Make the Road New York. Retrieved July 22, 2009 from:

This report explores the approaches to security and discipline favored by six successful schools, which serve “at-risk” student populations, similar to schools with some of the harshest discipline policies. It concludes with practical recommendations to help replicate these success stories in schools throughout the city.