The Institute for Restorative Justice (IRJ) is a university resource that offers a spectrum of services rooted in Restorative Justice practices for UT faculty, staff and students. Our offerings aim to address and mitigate concerns related to intrapersonal and interpersonal matters arising from relationship-centered dynamics.
Restorative Service Offerings
To support the university community, the IRJ is excited to announce the following spectrum of Restorative service offerings.
Do you want to be empowered and supported in navigating relationship-centered concerns in a way where you have agency in shaping process and outcomes?
Do you want to be able to define the parameters for how to address your concerns while obtaining support and guidance from trained Restorative practitioners?
The Institute for Restorative Justice offers Restorative processes which are voluntary, remedies-based, and designed to balance support and accountability between or among affected parties.
With the support of a trained facilitator, harmed and responsible parties are empowered to reflect on their individual needs and obligations in an effort to support their growth and mitigate future harm to themselves or others.
IRJ offers two Restorative tracks, which include:
Restorative Justice Alternative (RJA)
The RJA process seeks to address or mitigate conflict that stems from intrapersonal and interpersonal concerns.
Restorative Practices Alternative (RPA)
The RPA process seeks to address Title IX related concerns under “Track C” in the HOP 3-3031.
Please note: Title IX matters are determined eligible for RPA by the Title IX Coordinator; approval of the parties’ voluntary agreement is necessary to proceed.
Are you looking to request a workshop related to Restorative engagement and frameworks that are tailored to your community or unit’s needs?
Are you interested in identifying co-learning opportunities that advance your understanding of Restorative Justice and implementing Restorative skills?
The IRJ is a central resource for the university community, offering educational opportunities in implementing Restorative Justice ideologies and practices and navigating intrapersonal and interpersonal matters arising from relationship-centered dynamics through trainings and workshops for specific colleges, schools and units.
Are you interested in enhancing your unit or community’s structural and interpersonal approaches to relationship building and responding to conflict and harm?
The Institute for Restorative Justice offers Programmatic Support for strategic engagement to colleges, schools and units, and to communities who are interested in incorporating a Restorative lens to formal and informal structures or processes.
If you are interested in Restorative Justice services or want to learn more, we invite you to consult with us.
What to Expect: Curious about what a restorative circle is like? Want to spend some time getting to know other UT folks and build connections? Join us at The Circle Experience! This experiential learning opportunity provides participants with the experience of being in a circle centered around community building, and provides a low-risk environment to build connections with one another while an experienced Restorative Justice facilitator guides the group through the circle process. Each month, the same circle will be offered twice, one in person and one virtually. Pick whichever one fits your needs best when you register. Please join us in this highly rated session!
The Self-Awareness Audit: A Communication Styles Workshop
What to Expect:Why can it be so difficult to communicate? Why do we often feel like it is so hard to be understood or to understand one another? Please join us at our newest learning session, The Self-Awareness Audit: A Communication Styles Workshop! Throughout this learning session, participants will have the opportunity to learn their dominant and recessive communication styles. Participants will also learn more about how their personal positionality might cause additional challenges, as well when communicating. Participants will finally reflect on this newly gained knowledge and how it can positively impact their relationships professionally and personally. This is a precursor to the Talk That Talk workshop. While it is not required, you may find it to be very helpful!
What to Expect: This dynamic and interactive workshop is designed to equip participants with the essential skills and strategies needed to effectively communicate and engage with others across different perspectives. We believe that effective communication is a vital tool for building meaningful connections on campus. The workshop is facilitated by experienced practitioners who are well-versed in communication theory and practice, and who cultivate a sense of belonging amongst participants to share their thoughts, questions, and experiences. The facilitators will also provide resources and practical tips on how to implement effective communication strategies in various real-life scenarios. By the end of the workshop, participants will have gained a deeper understanding of the communication toolkit and how to apply it when engaging across different perspectives. They will leave with enhanced communication skills and a greater ability to navigate dialogue with empathy and respect.
Restorative Justice is a theory and approach that seeks to understand who was harmed and how that harm might be repaired. It actively engages responsible, harmed and other affiliated individuals in an attempt to build a consensus on how to potentially repair the harm.
The three fundamental questions that restorative justice seeks to address are:
What are the harms and needs of those involved?
Who is responsible for the harm that has occurred?
What commitments and obligations are necessary to promote healing, repair relationships and mitigate future harm?
Building and Strengthening Relationships
Repairing Relationships and Responding to Harm
Supporting Reentry and Reintegration into Communities
The definition of harm does not fully encompass all of what it means to experience it. However, when individuals have been harmed, we are often able to identify how we feel, almost immediately.
Types of harms may include, but are not limited to:
Communal and Relational
Intentional space to talk privately about feelings and experiences
Support to maintain productive and respectful dialogue when engaging in challenging conversations
Explore the possibility of reaching mutually agreeable outcomes including but not limited to contact agreements, expectation/boundary setting, educational measure and mutual commitments
The final outcome of justice models that utilize a punitive framework is often punishment rather than repair. Punitive models of accountability rarely create adequate space for harmed individuals to voice their concerns and be heard, thereby, negating the opportunity for responsible individuals to meet the specific needs of those who have been impacted by their behavior.
Restorative Justice frameworks center people, relationships and their collective needs related to harm, in an effort to support healing and foster potential repair. Restorative Justice approaches are not dependent on whether a law or policy has been broken, as implementing a Restorative approach can be applied proactively to mitigate harm.
Restorative Justice frameworks offer the following:
Agency and Support
Individuals receive support to exercise agency and make informed choices based on their needs and desired outcomes.
Individuals who have experienced harm are provided the opportunity to address impacts, while providing the person who caused harm an opportunity to accept responsibility. All affiliated parties directly contribute to methods of accountability and the reconstructing of communities and relationships after harm has occurred.
Empowerment and Interconnectedness
Individuals are encouraged to exchange and express their emotions with one another in a vulnerable manner while maintaining mutual respect.
The Institute for Restorative Justice offers two Restorative tracks, which include:
Restorative Justice Alternative (RJA): The RJA process seeks to address or mitigate conflict that stems from intrapersonal and interpersonal concerns; and
Restorative Practices Alternative (RPA): The RPA process seeks to address Title IX related concerns under “Track C” in the HOP 3-3031.
These processes address behavior that pertains to prohibited conduct and/or behavior that pertains to gendered, sexual or discriminatory harm. Participants will collaborate with a trained facilitator through the Center for Access and Restorative Engagement (CARE) to identify harm, impacts, needs and desired outcomes. Participants will be offered the opportunity to draft a resolution agreement with the goal of mitigating future harm from occurring.
For participants to be offered a Restorative process to address violations of HOP 3-3031, the matter must be approved by the Title IX coordinator and referred to the CARE for processing.
Dependent on comfort level, desired outcomes and preference for interaction, there is autonomy in how a participant may choose to engage within the process. Options include:
Facilitated Dialogue: A facilitated conversation between two or more (less than five) people to gain additional understanding. Facilitator guides affiliated parties towards addressing and meeting interests/ needs
Educational Coaching: One-on-one consultation process designed to assess and develop an individual’s communication skills, develop understanding of varying perspectives-related topics, and to provide effective communication and interaction strategies to reduce the risk of recidivism in the future
Circles: A facilitated process that involves multiple parties to better understand a past event and the impact of others’ actions
Shuttle Negotiation: A process led by a facilitator who shuttles agreed upon information back and forth between two or more people to address concerns without bringing those people together face-to-face
Independent Design: Depending on the desired outcomes of the individuals involved, the above pathways may not be of interest. Affiliated parties will work with the facilitator to design a method of addressing the matter at hand that fosters high support and high accountability simultaneously. For example: a combination of more than one pathway, drafting impact statements, projects, etc.
Please note: Prior to initiating a process, interested parties will be invited to independently share their understanding of the situation and will be offered information about their available options.
Participants must voluntarily elect into the process.
Participants will be offered an opportunity to meet individually with the facilitator to share their perspective.
Participants will be engaged in multi-partial facilitation throughout the process.
Participants have the right to withdraw from the process at any time.
Facilitators will not make decisions for participants, nor do they have a personal stake in any particular outcome.
For more information about Restorative Processes and parameters for engagement, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Title IX related matters: At any time prior to agreeing to a resolution, any party has the right to withdraw from the Restorative Practices Alternative, and resume the appropriate Grievance Process of the Formal Complaint.
The Institute for Restorative Justice provides the University of Texas at Austin community tailored workshops, learning opportunities and programmatic support. If you are interested in exploring your options to engage your unit or community in our services, please request a consultation. In the consultation meeting, a CARE team member will meet with you to conduct a needs assessment and will work with you to identify the appropriate material that will maximize group engagement and retention based on desired outcomes.