On Thursday, April 21st, the Restorative Community Network hosted a symposium focused on Restorative Practices in south Santa Barbara county. Sponsored by the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara, this event brought together representatives from local schools, law enforcement, non-profit organizations and service providers, district attorney and public defender’s offices, Council Members, and other community members to discuss ways in which Restorative Practices could be used to address juvenile crime. The Keynote speaker was Dr. David Ragland, co-founder and co-director of the Truth Telling Project, a non-profit organization aimed at finding peaceful and restorative solutions to the recent conflicts in Ferguson, Missouri. Additional presenters included; Dr. Frann Wageneck, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services at Santa Barbara Unified School District, researcher Luke James, MA, M.Ed from UCSB’s Center for Youth Based Development, and Lizzie Rodriguez, PhD(c) of Conflict Solutions Center. Geoff Green of the Foundation for Santa Barbara City College moderated a panel of speakers that included Deputy Chief of Probation Steve DeLira, Edwin Cue of Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (CADA), Chief Deputy District Attorney Kelly Scott, and Robert Jacobs of YStrive.
Steve DeLira, Santa Barbara City Councilwoman, Cathy Murillo, led Action Plan Workshops identifying and prioritizing community needs and steps necessary to meet those needs. These action plans are intended to strengthen and support restorative programs to have a sustainable impact on Santa Barbara’s youth. An Executive Summary of the Restorative Community Network is available by contacting LRodriguez@RCNsb.org. The Restorative Community Network will host bi-monthly meetings beginning in June 2016 to take steps toward fulfilling the action plans developed at the Symposium.
Santa Barbara holds a rich history of providing Restorative Practices. Since 1998, the Santa Barbara community has offered professional education, programs, and services in schools and the judicial system, and formalized an agreement to offer victims and offenders a restorative alternative to the traditional judicial process. The Restorative Community Network Symposium celebrated the community’s progressive approach and brought together allies to strengthen existing programs, develop new ideas, and create a Restorative Community.