By: Follow South Jersey Staff
CAMDEN, N.J. — Community members, educators, students, and stakeholders will have the opportunity to participate in free restorative justice training through the nonprofit The Restorative Center in partnership with Camden County, Camden City, and the Camden City School District.
In 2021, legislation was passed to create four pilot sites for restorative justice implementation in Camden City, Trenton, Newark, and Patterson.
Restorative justice is an approach to justice focused on communication and mediation rather than punishment to work towards the better well-being of victims, offenders, and community members.
According to their website, The Restorative Center (TRC) “was founded by Shailly Agnihotri in response to the heartbreak she experienced as a public defender trying to attain justice for her clients. TRC program development is a direct answer to the consequences of the privatization of prisons, the institutionalism of racism, and the criminalization of poverty.” The nonprofit organization is active in Louisiana, New York, and Camden as well as an online presence.
“Our goal is to transform Camden into a city that resolves issues using diversionary strategies, rather than using the traditional methods used by the justice system,” Commissioner Jon Young said in a press release from Camden County. “The most effective way to improve our community is to nurture community members and focus on rehabilitation. This is an all-hands-on deck effort with training being deployed to the county, the Prosecutors office, the courts, police, schools, organizations, and community members.”
One training session will be held for families at the Kroc Center on Harrison Ave. in Camden on Thursday, January 19 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and dinner will be provided.
Two other sessions will be held on Friday, January 20, for community members and system stakeholders in room 119-120 at the Florio Building on Federal Street in Camden. Session one runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and session two runs from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
“By focusing on the three main elements of restorative justice – encounter, repair and transform – we can create a clearer path to a more equitable community,” Young said.
To register for each session, visit www.therestorativecenter.org/restorative-justice-camden.
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