Category Archives: News

NEWS: RESTORE Director Elected to National Board

Mesa, Arizona, 04/11/2011 — Frustrated neighbors, feuding families, and others caught in stressful situations have a new advocate in their quest to finally put their conflicts to rest.  John Gehm, Director of Restore, Inc. has recently been elected to the Board of Directors of the National Association for Community Mediation.  In this new capacity, John Gehm will serve as a national advocate for increased awareness, accessibility, and utilization of constructive community mediation and other conflict-assistance services.

Community mediation helps those in difficult conflicts directly engage the other side and work through the situation using a trained, impartial mediator.  From noisy neighbors to family fall-outs, interpersonal spats to embattled public policy divisions, community mediation works to move individuals and entire communities from conflict to concord.  In fact, over 400 community mediation programs throughout the country assist countless individuals each year in overcoming seemingly impossible problems to discover their own customized resolutions to earlier discord.

Through Gehm’s new role, programs everywhere will benefit from his extensive background and local experience helping our own community better engage its conflicts.  He will work to equip and enhance these services in other communities, as he shares this national platform and wisdom through his continued service to our own area residents.

For additional information, please contact: Justin R. Corbett, Executive Director of the National Association for Community Mediation (NAFCM), at (602) 633-4213 or

Additional information about NAFCM: In communities around the globe, programs and volunteers share their expertise to help others constructively engage, transform, and resolve conflict.  NAFCM supports these peacemakers by aggregating their wisdom, amplifying their voice, and advancing their critical work.  An active advocate for constructive conflict-assistive services, NAFCM support the over 400 community mediation programs across the U.S. and many others internationally.  For more information, including an interactive map of local programs and resources to help you move beyond conflict, please visit

 Justin R. Corbett
National Association for Community Mediation
(602) 633-4213

Challenging the status quo remains a risky business

Journalism Professor Who Helped Free 5 Innocent Men from Death Roll Has Been Sacked | Civil Liberties | AlterNet.

Burning Bridges

Bucks County, Pennsylvania

Information Night

A restorative justice information night will be held on Thursday, March 17 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in meeting room A at the downtown public library in Sioux Falls.

The event will open at 6:30 with a 35-minute documentary film shown at 7:00. The film, “Burning Bridges,” will be followed by a question and answer time with refreshments.

Burning Bridges recounts the aftermath of the arson of an historic wooden covered bridge by six local young men in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The focus is on the restorative conference that dealt with the shock and outrage of the community and how the young men were held accountable, as well as the fear and grief experienced by the perpetrators and their families in this small community.

The film provides an excellent introduction to restorative justice, which seeks to repair the harm done to victims of crime and hold offenders accountable in a meaningful, rehabilitative way. Restorative justice can also be used to resolve disputes in schools, churches, businesses, neighborhoods, and families. Information will be available on upcoming mediation workshop opportunities.

The event is sponsored by RESTORE, Inc., a non-profit organization which provides mediation services in southeastern South Dakota. For details, call (605) 338-6020 or email

Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation

This is news from Connecticut, a state where, as in Illinois, the movement to abolish state homicide is gathering momentum. One thing that always catches my attention is the MVFR tagline.   Like restorative justice, you can never ‘undo’ what has happened but you can decide how you want to live afterwards.

Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation
Reconciliation means accepting that you cannot undo the murder but you can decide how you want to live afterwards.

March 8, 2011
I hope you got a chance to see some of the daylong hearing in Connecticut yesterday. Several victims’ family members including Gail Canzano, Elizabeth Brancato and Walt Everett testified. As soon as they post the archived video and transcripts, I’ll send out a link. In the meantime, there was lots of testimony about the number of folks in Connecticut who support the death penalty based on polling. There is a newspaper poll today in the [Hartford] Courant that we can weigh in on.    See: Courant poll and vote.
Beth Wood

It’s Time For Our Nation To Be Smart on Crime Smart on Crime

Recommendations for the Administration and Congress provides the 112th Congress and the Obama administration with analysis of the problems plaguing our state and federal criminal justice systems and a series of recommendations to address these failures. The report examines the entire criminal justice system, from the creation of new criminal laws to ex-offenders’ reentry into communities after serving their sentences.  Recommendations range from helping to restore and empower victims to identifying ways to protect the rights of the accused. Due to the undeniable human costs and the overwhelming fiscal costs, Americans from diverse political perspectives–particularly professionals with experience in all aspects of the criminal justice system–recognize that the system fails too many, costs too much, and helps too few. Smart on Crime provides the most promising recommendations for resolving our nation’s criminal justice crisis.  You can read or download the full report here.

It is worth noting how many of the recommendations are restorative.

Event: South Dakotans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty

South Dakotans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty is co-hosting an event this Thursday at The Spirit of the Peace United Church of Christ.  The event is at 7:30pm in the Fireside Room.  The event, which is being co-hosted by the Just Peace Action Group, is titled The Road to Abolition: Nearing the End of Capital Punishment in the United States and South Dakota.

The Spirit of the Peace Church is at 6509 S. Cliff Ave (73rd St. and Cliff Ave).

Travis Schulze, coordinator for SDADP, will speak about how recent national trends and the specifics of South Dakota’s death penalty have changed the conversation on capital punishment and will lead a discussion on how South Dakota can move towards death penalty repeal!  Refreshments will be provided.

Restorative solutions … now more than ever….

Crime is a violation of people and relationships. It creates obligations to make things right.   Justice involves the victim, the offender, and the community in a search for solutions which promote repair, reconciliation, and reassurance.

Restorative justice also means being embarrassed to live in a state that locks up more juveniles per capita than any other state in the country.  Are things really more dangerous in South Dakota than they are in New Jersey? Who benefits from this policy?  Now is the time to gather evidence, be passionate, and make your voice heard… You know what to do.  Why not do it?