....When I was on the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, I had the opportunity to educate myself about the criminal justice system.  I took advantage of that opportunity and turned a part-time unpaid position into a full-time unpaid position.  I spent six years studying prisons, probation and parole in a very hands-on way.  I went to conferences and sat in endless workshops; I visited most of the prisons here in Texas and talked to everyone I could; I got involved in sex offender treatment issues and began to understand more about what works and what doesn’t work in treatment of sex offenders.  I spent a lot of time learning about probation and parole as well and, in summary, I became a very educated board member.

However, I found myself searching for something more, but I had no idea what that was.  When I toured my first prison, I remember standing in front of one of those tiny cells for two and thinking, “Well, this is definitely punishment, but what kind of person will we be putting back into our community?” The answer came to me when I heard a speech about restorative justice at an American Probation and Parole Conference in the mid 90’s.   At that moment, I knew that restorative justice was what I had been looking for and I began searching for a way to get involved.  It didn’t take long for me to become an “restorative justice groupie” like so many others.   Restorative justice is the more peaceful, hopeful and healing vision of the criminal justice system that I had been searching for....

Read the whole article.