The University of San Diego’s Center for Restorative Justice Expands Work Nationally, Thanks to U.S. Department of Justice Partnership

The University of San Diego’s Center for Restorative Justice has joined forces with the University of Vermont, Vermont Law School and the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs to expand the work of the National Center of Restorative Justice.

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, D-VT, recently announced the Vermont Law School received a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice for the National Center on Restorative Justice, which according to a press release from the Senator, “focuses on engaging criminal justice professionals, community members, educators, and social service providers with incarcerated individuals and broaden their understanding of the justice system and restorative justice.” The University of San Diego’s Center for Restorative Justice is a part of this collaboration alongside the Vermont Law School and University of Vermont.

“At the Center for Restorative Justice, we believe universities are important engines for social change. This grant highlights the role that universities can play in criminal justice reform by educating criminal justice professionals about how restorative justice is an effective, evidence-based approach to address harm,” said David Karp, Director of the Center for Restorative Justice at the University of San Diego. “The grant enables our partnership with Vermont Law School and the University of Vermont to create a National Center on Restorative Justice to become an influential resource by providing regular educational institutes as well as certification in restorative justice facilitation and leadership.”

The first initiatives at the University of San Diego, under the new collaboration, will be focused on the role restorative justice can play in policing to address long standing tension between many law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. 

Some of theses initiatives include: 

  • The University of San Diego’s Center for Restorative Justice will use some of this funding to create several national workshops on restorative justice as well as the creation of scholarships for those interested in becoming certified in the subject matter.
  • The Restorative Justice Facilitation and Leadership Certificate, is offered by the USD Center for Restorative Justice, and Professional and Continuing Education at USD, and is designed for professional practice with the goal of building a new generation of restorative justice leaders. 

“Restorative Justice is a process of working towards understanding and reconciliation. Clearly, we need practitioners of justice in our communities, organizations and schools.  The Restorative Justice Center provides University of San Diego School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES) students, as well as the organizations and individuals with which it partners, with important knowledge and skills to enact more equitable practices and processes and to reduce harm. I am particularly excited about the potential of this work to impact policing, prisons and the criminal justice system-especially given the impact that these have had on communities of color, which have been disproportionately impacted by these systems. SOLES is excited to be part of this very important work,” said Dr. Joi Spencer, Interim Dean and Professor in SOLES.

For more information about the University of San Diego’s Center for Restorative Justice, you can visit the Center’s website.

About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 9,000 students from 69 countries and 50 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. The university's eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD's Envisioning 2024 strategic plan capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.


Elena Gomez
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