Five UCLA School of Law students visited the Bay Area this fall for an intensive focus on restorative justice. Restorative Justice is a theory that views crime as a harm to individuals and society and focuses on repairing these harms through a cooperative process of identifying the needs and obligations of those who caused the harm as well as those impacted by the harm and their respective communities.
Over three days, the second- and third-year students, led by Criminal Justice Program Associate Director Alicia Virani, visited several sites to learn how various communities are implementing restorative justice practices. The group visited San Quentin State Prison twice to participate in restorative justice circles with the men incarcerated there. The circles were a powerful tool for the individuals to understand their own trauma and to take accountability for their actions. The group also participated in a restorative justice event at a middle school and high school in Oakland, and met with groups implementing restorative justice as responses to intimate violence.
This group was so inspired by their trip that they plan to start a Restorative Justice program in collaboration with Los Angeles community organizations. The trip was sponsored by the school's Criminal Justice Program, Prison Law and Policy Program and the David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy.