Restorative Justice

RJ Facilitators pose for a photo in UMSON

UMSON's Restorative Justice (RJ) program seamlessly blends a proactive, relationship-focused methodology with restorative tools designed to strengthen community bonds and address instances of harm and conflict.

Students: Apply for the Restorative Justice Student Leadership Program

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The RJ program places UMSON at the forefront of fostering robust and healthy relationships across the campus and our local communities. It broadens the School’s conflict-resolution repertoire by increasing connection and relationship building. The bedrock of this restorative approach is a commitment to respecting the dignity of all individuals affected by harm, with the goal of facilitating understanding, supporting accountability, and providing a platform for healing through collaborative means. These practices include responsive circles, restorative dialogues, and restorative conferences.

Philosophy and Values of Restorative Justice

RJ is a paradigm shift in the perception of justice, prioritizing repair over retribution or punishment. The RJ process offers a structured framework focusing on restoration and healing through collaborative engagement with all stakeholders. A restorative approach maximizes the exchange of information, active participation, dialogue, and mutual consent between those who caused harm and those who experienced it.

The restorative framework is characterized by:

  • inclusion and participation: involvement of all relevant parties
  • compassionate communication: fostering connection that includes empathy, kindness, and deeper understanding and support of other perspectives and lived experiences as expressed by individuals and communities
  • openness to learning: recognizing and exploring the disparity between intent and impact
  • collaboration: working together to address the individual and community needs arising from harm and to create positive connections through community building to support authentic relationships.

Current Initiatives:

(programming available in person and virtually)

  • Restorative Dialogues: Engaging in responsive circles to address interpersonal conflict, social concerns, and political unrest by providing support as we process current and historic harms (e.g., racism, war, xenophobia, and marginalization of many communities) and seek to build an inclusive school community
  • Integration into Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Curriculum: Infusing restorative practices into the BSN curriculum to foster community building among students, faculty, and staff
  • Faculty and Staff Development Sessions: Implementing restorative practices during professional development sessions for faculty and staff
  • Skill-Building Sessions: Enhancing the capacity of the current RJ Facilitator team through skill-building sessions
  • Community-Building Opportunities: Providing diverse settings, such as workshops and meetings, for students, faculty, and staff to engage in community building
  • Restorative Justice Student Leadership Program: We will be launching a Restorative Justice Student Leadership Program, where students will be trained as RJ facilitators and receive dedicated support and mentoring in restorative practices during their entry-into-nursing program.

What We Offer

Request a restorative intervention

The Restorative Justice Facilitators are trained to offer the following list of programs and interventions:

Restorative Community Building Circles: In a restorative community building circle, individuals come together in a structured and inclusive dialogue format to build community, promote healing, or address conflicts. This facilitation technique emphasizes open communication, active listening, and shared responsibility. Circles provide a safe space for participants to express their feelings, perspectives, hurts, and needs, fostering a deeper understanding among those involved.

Possible Applications: professional development, classroom discussion, or team building.

Restorative Harm Circles: Restorative Harm circles are effective when addressing interpersonal conflicts, disciplinary matters, or situations where harm has occurred. When participating in a restorative harm circle, participants collaborate on the impact of their actions, work to repair relationships, and collectively decide on meaningful resolutions. This approach addresses the immediate issues and cultivates a supportive, empathetic community that values accountability, healing, and mutual growth.

Possible Applications: Addressing current events, interpersonal conflict, or addressing code of conduct and academic integrity violations.

Restorative Justice (RJ) Conference: A restorative justice conference is a structured meeting facilitated by a trained RJ facilitator. The RJ conference brings together parties directly involved in a harm causing incident, along with affected stakeholders. It is effective in situations where a more comprehensive, and in-depth dialogue is needed to address harms. Restorative justice conferences are effective when addressing serious offenses, conflicts, or complex situations within a community. RJ conferences enable participants to share their perspectives, express their feelings, and work collectively towards understanding and repairing harm. This approach fosters a sense of responsibility and accountability. Participants actively create a space for healing and reconciliation, contributing to the restoration of relationships and the overall well-being of the community.

Possible Application: Individual or small group process where interpersonal or organizational harm has occurred

Faculty and Staff Development: Restorative justice faculty and staff development sessions are designed to equip educators and administrative personnel with the skills and knowledge necessary to integrate RJ principles into their work environments. They are beneficial during times of significant organizational change. They aim to create a culture of empathy, understanding, and accountability. RJ practices support faculty and staff in responding to disciplinary challenges, improving communication around conflict resolution, and fostering an inclusive and supportive learning environment. RJ development sessions contribute to the overall well-being of the academic community and enhance the effectiveness of restorative practices within the educational setting.

Possible Applications: Design a training that addresses the unique needs of your department, team, or workgroup in collaboration with RJ facilitators.

Become a Restorative Justice Facilitator

The RJ program offers a Level 1 and Level 2 training for faculty and staff who wish to become facilitators. This training provides and opportunity to serve the UMSON community and facilitate community building and conflict resolution across the organization.

As an RJ facilitator, faculty and staff:

  • participate in monthly RJ facilitator planning/training meetings.
  • facilitate a minimum of four RJ interventions throughout the year based on program needs.
    • RJ interventions include Community Building Circles, Harm Circles, RJ Conferences, facilitation of professional development and training, student orientations and trainings, etc.
  • participate in the ongoing professional development and scholarship of RJ to inform best practices within UMSON, including but not limited to development of curriculum, dissemination of program materials, scholarly articles, and presentations at professional conferences.
  • engage in ongoing personal and professional development related to equity, diversity, and inclusion; each facilitator is responsible for serving as a role model for the In UniSON Statement.

Level 1 RJ Facilitator Training for Faculty and Staff:
Interested in becoming a restorative justice facilitator? Please complete this form to let us know of your interest in participating in a Level 1 Facilitator Training. We will contact you when the next training is scheduled.

Restorative Justice Student Leadership Program

The Restorative Justice Student Leadership Program (RJSLP) fosters a sense of belonging among nursing students and equips them with the skills and attributes needed to address harm, promote resilience, and build community within educational and healthcare settings.

Enhance Belongingness: We are committed to fostering a sense of belonging among nursing students. Through the RJSLP, participants will engage in community-building events, facilitated dialogues, and supportive mentorship to create a welcoming learning environment at UMSON.

Boost Competence and Self-Efficacy: Our program provides comprehensive training in restorative practices, empowering students to address historical, interpersonal, and organizational harm with confidence. Workshops and assessments will measure the growth in competence and self-efficacy throughout the program.

Address Educational Challenges: We recognize the diverse challenges students face in their educational journey. Student RJ leaders will augment UMSON’s established support systems and assist by ensuring that students feel connected to their school community.

Promote Cross-Campus Collaboration: The RJSLP is committed to building a cohesive community between the Baltimore and Universities at Shady Grove locations. Through joint events, virtual platforms, and targeted initiatives, the program seeks to enhance engagement and collaboration among nursing students at both campuses.

If you are interested in joining the Restorative Justice Student Leadership Program, please complete the application by June 23. 

Apply to the RJSLP

I believe restorative justice facilitation works to address issues or concerns within communities that are overlooked or penalized harshly. By using restorative justice, we can acknowledge and repair the harm done to individuals or communities while holding those who committed the harm accountable. I see being an RJ facilitator as an opportunity to address the harm experienced by students, staff, and faculty in a meaningful way. By working with our communities in UMSON, we as RJ facilitators have an opportunity to address the biases as a community and bring about change for those who need it. Arthur Caesar, BS - Admissions Counselor
As a Restorative Justice facilitator, I am a vocal advocate of positive change for my community, creating a safe place where we can together, champion a welcoming, bias-free, and just environment. I commit to doing this through reflective listening and cultivating a growth mindset, supporting the continuation of our collective work. My quest is to facilitate others’ and my own discovery toward a commitment to 1) embrace differences and be dedicated to listening to others’ stories and experiences openly, 2) recognize our shared humanity and commonality across cultures and identities, and 3) create authentic ways to share and promote inclusivity and equity in the workplace and in social and personal environments. Laura El Shafei, MPH, MA, RN - Director of Academic and Career Success
My interest in restorative justice stems from my desire to help people feel a sense of belonging, connection, and safety, no matter the setting. As a nurse, I also feel compelled to facilitate harmony and resolution where conflict exists. The principles of restorative justice are especially important to integrate into higher education as academic organizations strive to be welcoming and trusting environments for all students and employees and to provide them with tools to grow as human beings and professionals. Seeing the restorative justice philosophy in action at UMB is inspiring as we see students and colleagues connect on profound levels and effectively mend weakened relationships. Amanda Henson, MS, RN, CNE, CHSE - Clinical Instructor
Working on my engagement with equity, diversity, and inclusion has been integral to my professional and personal growth. Although I grew up in a home that believed in justice for all, I did not question or explore my white privilege in any depth. It wasn’t until I began living and working in diverse communities that I began to understand the meaning of terms like equity, inclusivity, and implicit bias. I have spent the last several years working toward more clarity around my biases, how they are present in my work and relationships, and what I need to grow. Restorative justice practice examines how power is felt and perceived and can create environments where diverse individuals can contribute fully. I believe RJ practice helps us build a stronger school of nursing. Veronica Gutchell, DNP, RN, CNS, CRNP - Assistant Professor
Being a Restorative Justice facilitator allows me to foster intentional connections between students. Facilitating community building circles allows me to get to know my students on a deeper level and learn about their lived experiences. These circles also role model the importance of authentic sharing, vulnerability, and genuine support needed to promote resilience in the nursing profession. Being a restorative justice facilitator has also changed the way I approach challenging situations with students and provide feedback. By assuming positive intent, I become curious about the student’s experience and engage in collaborative dialogue. Marisa Astiz-Martinez, MSN, RN, RYT-200 - Clinical Instructor
I became interested in restorative justice because I wanted to be involved in creating more community at UMSON. RJ allows for open communication and empathy. Circle practice produces meaningful dialogue through reflection, connection, and trust. Serving as an RJ facilitator strengthens my commitment to the UMSON community and helps me gain a deeper understanding of the student experience. There is a focus on collaboration and accountability. In RJ practice, all are welcome, listened to, and valued. Jillian Pahel, MBA - Assistant Director, Student Services for Conway Scholars
I deeply value restorative justice and restorative practice principles, recognizing their profound impact on healthcare education and clinical practice. In my role, I see restorative justice not just to address conflicts or transgressions but as a holistic approach that fosters understanding, empathy, and mutual respect among students and colleagues. We cultivate a supportive and collaborative learning environment by integrating restorative practices into our curriculum and interactions. This enhances students' professional development and prepares them to extend these values of compassion, empathy, and comprehensive care to their future patients and colleagues, thus contributing positively to the broader healthcare community. Kaitlin Shapelow, MS, CRNP, AGNP-PC - Clinical Instructor
RJ principles are expressed in a variety of ways depending on the context, goals, and needs of the participants.  First and foremost, the parameters of a safe, respectful, open, accepting, and non-judgmental environment are established among the group members so a respectful dialogue can be engaged. When these conditions are provided, I have seen the RJ process dismantle bias and barriers that exist among different individuals in the circle and participants becoming aware of the assumptions they hold and willingness to examine those judgements about other members. This lays the foundation for setting goals and action plans creating realistic steps for strong community relationships to exist.  As a facilitator, this transformation is very gratifying to facilitate and observe. Darlene M. Trandel, PhD, CNS, FNP, PCC, NBC-HWC - Assistant Professor
As an RJ facilitator and mental health provider, I am driven by the transformative power of empathy and dialogue to heal communities. Restorative justice fosters understanding, accountability, and healing for those affected by harm, enabling individuals to address conflict's root causes, repair relationships, and promote mental well-being. RJ's holistic approach acknowledges the interconnectedness of social, emotional, and psychological factors in perpetuating harm and fostering healing, making it an essential tool for mental health in communities. Tarleen Weston, DNP, PMHNP-BC - Assistant Professor
I am grateful and excited to see RJ in action through facilitating community circles and taking part in the restorative justice process. RJ provides the structure to develop community, collaboration, and healing, three of my highest values. I appreciate that it is a way to make sure every voice can be heard, and that we can create a safe environment where people can take risks, share vulnerability, expect compassion, and find common ground. It also provides the opportunity to learn about our different experiences of being in the world through genuine sharing. RJ helps us make UMSON a place where everyone feels, and is, welcome. Janet Armstead Wulf, DNP, RN, CNL, CHPN, CNE - Assistant Professor