Source: (2008) Restorative Practices E-Forum. 31 October.

Terry O’Connell, director of Real Justice Australia, a division of the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP), was awarded an honorary doctorate by Australian Catholic University at its October 2008 graduation ceremony. O’Connell, a retired 30-year veteran with the New South Wales Police Service, is well known as the “cop from Wagga Wagga” who developed what is now the IIRP’s Real Justice restorative conference model. IIRP president Ted Wachtel first heard O’Connell speak in 1994 in Pennsylvania, and was so taken with O’Connell’s work adapting the New Zealand model of family group conferencing that he founded Real Justice, now the IIRP’s restorative justice program. The IIRP has promoted the use of O’Connell’s restorative conference process based on his “restorative questions,” which foster empathy and shared understanding among offenders, victims, and their respective friends and family members. Since retiring from the police service, O’Connell has headed up the IIRP’s office in Australia. While he has been a major influence in spreading restorative justice throughout the world, in recent years he has been especially effective in bringing restorative practices to schools. After a preamble acknowledging the university and his family, O’Connell gave the following speech on the occasion of receiving his honorary doctorate for his work as a restorative justice pioneer. (excerpt)

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