The thinker and developer of restorative approaches who I most respect is Dominic Barter. His understanding of the underlying dynamics of conflict, the part that I see as based on theory or principle, is as keen as anyone I have met or studied. At the same time he has done the work of engaging his community in the co-creation of restorative systems throughout Rio de Janeiro and the rest of Brazil, as well as working around the world to help others do the same.
....A lot of the work done here in Athens, Ga., was accomplished by my friend and former boss, Gwen O’Looney. Gwen was the mayor of Athens for eight years, and is energetically involved in all sorts of projects in the city. She knows everyone in town it seems, and she was able to connect with important people in the judiciary, the prosecutor’s office, the public defender’s office, the police, related nonprofits and many other stakeholder groups.
Most importantly, she is engaged with the community most impacted by our work, the folks whose kids come into frequent contact with law enforcement and the courts.These neighborhoods are impacted by high unemployment, poverty, crime, trouble with schools and a host of other “social ills” that are too common. Most of the residents are black.