Following welcome remarks from IIRP president Ted Wachtel, participants watched the movie The Transformation of West Philadelphia High School: A Story of Hope about how strong leadership and the implementation of restorative practices helped turn around a school that has been on Pennsylvania, USA’s, “Persistently Dangerous Schools” list. IIRP trainer Steve Korr introduced a panel from West Philadelphia High School, including assistant principal Natasha Cox, social worker Kelly Siegal and assistant principal Christine Tavares. They discussed how they are building community and reducing discipline problems, serious incidents and violence in their school. Click here to read the eForum article: Restorative Practices and the Transformation at West Philadelphia High School.

In the morning’s second plenary session, Jennifer Llewellyn, professor, Dalhousie Law School and director, Nova Scotia Restorative Justice Community University Research Alliance (NSRJ-CURA), Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, shared news of Nova Scotia’s restorative justice program, which she called “the most developed and comprehensive program in Canada and among the leaders in the world,” as well as related current research. The program, she said, is aiming to become “a comprehensive alternative to the mainstream punitive and/or rehabilitative criminal justice system for both youth and adult offenders.” Intended to be rolled out in four phases: pilot youth application, full youth application, pilot adult application and full adult application, the program has realized its first two goals and is moving toward the next phase. Llewellyn also provided advance notice of the joint conference that NSRJ-CURA is hosting with the IIRP in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in June 2011. Click here to read Llewellyn’s paper: Restorative Collaboration: The Nova Scotia Restorative Justice Program.

Conference participants then split up to attend the numerous “breakout sessions” being offered by their colleagues.