Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $750,000)
Restorative justice and practices have gained momentum and are recognized as viable alternatives to current punitive approaches in dealing with school discipline, juvenile delinquency, and criminal behavior. Addressing the issues at the macro-level has become a daunting and, at times, overwhelming undertaking; therefore, taking a micro-level approach to the issues by providing access to training and resources to school personnel, criminal and juvenile justice professionals and community advocates is paramount. The local community lacks restorative practices training and relevant resources. Currently, Bowie State University is the only major educational institution in the State of Maryland offering restorative justice and practices training. The Institute of Restorative Justice and Practices at Bowie State University proposes providing training and access to restorative practices and resources to K-12 and higher education educators, criminal and juvenile justice professionals, and community advocates in the Fifth Congressional District in Maryland. In addition to training and access to restorative practices and resources, a portion of the funds received through the grant will be utilized to create an online peer-reviewed academic journal, provide training for current faculty within the Institute of Restorative Justice and Practices, and offer scholarships to local citizens in the Fifth Congressional District to attend the annual conference held by the Institute. These resources will ensure that the Institute continues to meet the demands of the local, state, and international communities regarding training and relevant materials. Through a multi-layered approach, this project consists of six key components: 1) train Bowie State University's faculty, staff, students, and administrators how to explicitly build a positive campus climate and culture using restorative practices; 2) implement restorative practices in the Division of Student Affairs at Bowie State University; 3) identify and train cohorts of teachers and administrators from various K-12 schools in Maryland's Fifth Congressional District; train criminal justice and juvenile justice professionals, non-profit organizations, and faith-based community members on restorative practices; 4) organize an annual Restorative Justice and Practices Conference; 5) develop a repository for resources on restorative practices; and 6) establish an online peer-viewed journal in restorative justice and practices. The expected outcomes for this project are to increase the number of trained restorative practices experts in Maryland's Fifth Congressional District, increase awareness of restorative practices and resources needed for public schools, criminal and juvenile justice agencies, and non-profit organizations pursuing restorative practices, and increase student retention and graduation rates at Bowie State University.