DCCE Civic Thursday: Can People Change? How much punishment is enough? What is Restorative Justice, and is it useful?
On November 29th, DCCE, along with this year’s Civic Engagement Studios, hosted its second Civic Thursday of this semester. The event was very well attended with students, faculty and staff from Duke as well as a wide range of community members and activists from Durham and beyond.
The lunchtime conversations provided a space for the two Studios to outline their projects. In brief, None of the Above: Long Term Suspension, Attrition and the School to Prison Pipeline (NOTA) is an interdisciplinary, multimedia collaboration investigating the intersection of race, poverty, education, and incarceration through the words, maps, self-portraits, and experiences of those affected by this school-to-prison pipeline. The basic goal of the Restorative Justice Studio (RJS) is to develop effective methodologies for training Duke students and Durham community members in Restorative Justice. A related goal is the creation of a network of supportive people in the University and community who want to collaborate and inspire each other in this way in future educational, justice, and community contexts—in short: train and connect. (read more about the Restorative Justice Studio in following article)
Following the outlines of the projects by Studio leaders Amy Anderson (NOTA), Lynden Harris (NOTA), Douglas Campbell (RJS) and Amy Elliott (RJS) the conversation delved deeper into the underlying foundations central to understanding many of the interconnected issues of punishment, criminalized behaviors, social environments, education, community and justice. Community leaders working in these areas contributed their stories and experiences to further expand attendees’ understanding and appreciation of these complex topics. Many of the practitioners present highlighted the ways they are addressing issues of the school to prison pipeline and crime in the community through the use of restorative justice techniques. The conversation highlighted the important ways in which the collaboration of academic scholarship and the expertise of those living in and working with communities contribute to shared learning and the development of solutions to societal issues such as those of punishment and justice.
The Studios are continuing their work and will highlight their efforts at an event the evening of April 22, 2014, at the Nasher. Please stay tuned to DCCE news for more details about this event.