The cornerstone of our restorative justice work are our Healing Justice Retreats, where we use restorative justice circles to address the harm caused by wrongful convictions. Our retreats create a safe, nurturing, and confidential space in which people who have been harmed in these cases can come together and speak openly about their trauma and loss, provide peer support to one another, identify ways their needs can be met, and begin the road to healing and recovery.
We offer a variety of types of retreats. Some involve the same population, such as crime victims, survivors, and their families (or alternatively exonerated individuals and their families), during which people who have shared similar experiences can directly understand and support one another and engage in individual healing.
Other retreats involve diverse populations during which people from different perspectives come together to understand the widespread harm and engage in collective healing across all stakeholders. In some instances, people affected by the same case are brought together in one space. In other instances, people from different cases are brought together and act as “surrogates” in the restorative justice process.
Our retreats were designed by Board members and staff in collaboration with nationally-recognized restorative justice leaders and are led by Jennifer Thompson and Katie Monroe, both of whom have been trained to facilitate restorative justice circles. Our social work staff is present throughout the retreat to provide additional support to retreat participants as needed. Participants who have attended three previous retreats have the opportunity to co-facilitate the retreats and be trained to facilitate circles in their own communities.
We incorporate continual feedback from retreat participants to ensure that our retreats continue to meet participant needs and provide opportunities for healing. Our retreats also create opportunities for us to assess and respond to individual needs and provide additional support, such as connecting people in need to specialized services in their geographical region and to individualized peer support. To supplement between retreats, we offer other opportunities for peer support and recovery in both individual and group settings, such as online “circle” groups, peer-to-peer videos, and peer-led recommendations and resources.
In addition to our retreats, Healing Justice can create restorative justice opportunities and facilitate restorative justice activities that are tailored for specific cases and jurisdictions. Please contact us for additional information.