Restorative Justice

The RJ Project Overview downloadable PDF

The vision of the LMU Center for Urban Resilience (CURes) Restorative Justice Project (RJ Project) is to impact systemic education reform and transform social structures towards a more just society. The RJ Project offers RJ Practices trainings and programs dedicated to making the vision of a holistic citywide health and resilience a reality. CURes recognizes that when people feel safe and connected, the health and growth of their community flourishes. 

Aligning with LMU’s mission of education of the whole person, Restorative Justice Practices are based on principles that emphasize how positive relationships are central to building community and involve processes that hold people accountable for their behavior by exploring root causes of behavior when conflict occurs. To make an impact, the RJ Project provides educational trainings, Restorative Conferencing facilitation services, and opportunities to collaborate through the Southern California Restorative Justice Consortium

Riverside Unified School District implementing Restorative Practices through CUREs' conflict resolution program.

The LMU Office of Student Affairs and Office of Student Conduct & Community Responsibility (OSCCR) has been engaging in a partnership with CURes RJ Project since 2018, providing the LMU campus community with safe and inclusive tools to build connection and address conflict. To date, participants have included representatives from Parking and Transportation Department, Public Safety, Sorority and Fraternity Leadership (SFL), Student Housing, and The Learning Community (TLC).


Restorative Practices is a philosophy that grew from Restorative Justice (RJ) that aims to provide communities with safe, inclusive, and effective tools to develop healthy relationships. RP also helps teach Social Emotional Learning (SEL) skills such as understanding and managing emotions, exhibiting empathy, and establishing and maintaining positive relationships. The RJ Project provides trainings to equip participants with safe, inclusive, and effective tools to build connection between community members to create a safe environment for all stakeholders.

The RJ Project partners with educational institutions to offer RP training components including:

  • Education and Marketing 
  • School Environment Assessment
  • Implementation
  • Restorative Language Integration
  • Community Building Circles
  • Restorative Conferencing Facilitation Services
  • Skill-building and Coaching
  • Program Evaluation

The RJ Project tailors each training to help meet the needs of the community.


When conflict occurs, Restorative Conferences can help hold the responsible parties accountable for their behavior and misconduct. A trained, impartial facilitator invites affected parties and their supporters to discuss: 

  1. What happened?
  2. How has everyone been affected?
  3. What can be done to repair the harm?

Restorative Conferences provide a collective discovery process whereby underlying problems can be addressed and potentially help participants connect with much needed resources. The RJ Project offers Restorative Conferencing facilitation services to partnering organizations.

The RJ Project offers tools the community can voluntarily use to help cultivate knowledgeable, responsible, and civically engaged citizens by offering on-site services and collaboration opportunities through the Southern California Restorative Justice Consortium.

For more information, please contact:
Schoene Mahmood, Program Manager
(310) 338-4442 

  • Restorative Practices Trainings

    We partner with schools, nonprofit organizations, and corporations to offer training components including:

    • Orientation
    • Community Environment Assessment
    • Restorative Language Integration
    • Community Building Circles
    • Restorative Conferencing
    • Facilitation Skill-building and Coaching
    • Implementation Coordination
    • Program Evaluation

    We tailor each training to meet the needs of the community.

    For more information, please contact:
    Schoene Mahmood
    (310) 338-4442


  • RP Resources

    School-Based Restorative Justice Laws: A State by State Analysis and Georgetown Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality

    Exclusionary School Discipline Legislative Trends Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality


    • Colorizing Restorative Justice Edited by Edward C. Valandra, Waŋbli Wapȟáha Hokšílang
    • The Little Book of Race and Restorative Justice: by Fania Davis
    • The Little Book of Racial Healing: by Jodie Geddes and Thomas DeWolf
    • Circle Forward: Building a Restorative School Community by Carolyn Boyes-Watson , Kay Pranis
    • Creating Restorative Schools: Setting Schools Up to Succeed by Martha A. Brown, Ph.D.
    • Indigenous Community Rekindling the Teachings of the Seventh Fire by Gregory A. Cajete, Ph.D.
    • Returning To the Teachings: Exploring Aboriginal Justice by Rupert Ross

    Coronavirus Educator Resources

    Community Building Circles


    News Articles

    Social Emotional Learning Resources

    Trauma Resources

    Self Care Resources

    Empathy Development

  • Our Partners represent some of the most progressive organizations in the judicial, educational, governmental, and private sectors. These collaborations help lead the way in providing RJ resources in the Greater Los Angeles Area.

    Foundation Partners

    • Anonymous
    • Collins Foundation

    Academic Partners

    Community Partners

    CSC logo

    • Catholic Schools Collaborative
    • Kerri Berkowitz, Restorative Justice Practices Trainer and Implementation Specialist
    • Partnership for Los Angeles Schools
    • Public Counsel

    LMU Partners

    School Partners

    Alliance College-Ready Public Schools

    • Alice M. Baxter High School
    • Middle School #12

    Archdiocese of Los Angeles Catholic Schools

    • Assumption Catholic School
    • Dolores Mission School
    • Immaculate Conception Catholic School
    • Santa Isabel Catholic School
    • St. Aloysius Catholic School
    • St. Bernard’s High School
    • St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School
    • St. Ignatius Catholic School
    • St. Joseph’s Catholic School
    • St. Lawrence of Brindisi
    • St. Louis of France Catholic School
    • St. Michael Catholic School
    • St. Paul Catholic School
    • Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic School
    • St. Raphael Catholic School

    Aspire Public Schools

    • Centennial Academy
    • Inskeep Academy
    • Pacific Academy
    • Slauson Academy
    • Tate Academy

    Centinela Valley Union High School District

    • Lawndale High School
    • Lloyde High School

    Culver City Unified School District Representatives

    Long Beach Unified School District

    • Intellectual Virtues Academy

    Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)

    • Academic Leadership Community
    • Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary School
    • Westchester Enriched Sciences and Magnets

    New York City Charter School Center

    Riverside Unified School District (RUSD)

    • Arlington High School
    • Castle View Elementary
    • Chemawa Middle School
    • Educational Options High School
    • Emerson Elementary School
    • Franklin Elementary School
    • Gage Middle School
    • Hawthorne Elementary School
    • Highgrove Elementary School
    • Jefferson Elementary School
    • John North High School
    • Lake Matthews Elementary School
    • Lincoln High School
    • Longfellow Elementary School
    • Martin Luther King High School
    • Mountain View Elementary School
    • North High School
    • Patricia Beatty Elementary School
    • Ramona High School
    • Rivera Elementary School
    • Riverside Polytechnic High School
    • University Middle School
    • Washington Elementary School
    • William Howard Taft Elementary School
    • Woodcrest Elementary School
    • RUSD Hearts Program

    Santa Monica and Malibu School District Representatives

    Santa Monica Unified School District

    • Will Rogers Learning Community
  • These case studies illustrate how Community Building Circles and Community Conference work. Names have been changed for privacy.

    Stolen Phone

    Josh misplaced his phone. His teacher assured Josh that she would ask her students to help look for the phone. At the beginning of the school year she implemented Community Building Circles and got to know these students pretty well. Having built strong bonds she said, "I just want to talk with you because a student's phone has gone missing. So if any of you know where it is or who took it – the right thing to do would be to give the phone back."

    Right after class, Shawn, Taylor, and Mike approached the teacher and asked, "What does it say about a person's character if a person stole something and then brought it back?" The teacher responded, "That would say a lot about the person's character. And it wouldn't say much about their character if they didn't return it." The teacher could see the boys were really thinking about what she said. The boys answered, "Oh, we found this phone."

    Foreign Language Made Fun

    A foreign language teacher, reports: "I found out that one of my students who is failing my class is an avid reader. During one of our Community Building Circles, I asked everyone to name their favorite storybook from childhood. You can imagine their surprise when I brought those books written in Italian to them. They see that I'm paying attention to what interests them, so during class they pay more attention to me. In my opinion, this process makes a big difference in the class; the key is to continue doing it on a regular basis."


    A math instructor who teaches class right after lunch notices that students have difficulty concentrating. Most of the students in this class are repeating the course and there are at least eight young people who have problems controlling their behavior. When the teacher first introduced Community Building Circles, there were sidebar conversations, despite the use of a "talking piece" that serves as a reminder that only one person may speak at a time. After conducting the circles a few times, the young people have started to settle down and seem to take a real interest in the process by asking their own sets of questions.

    One time, a student brought up the social media application called Instagram because someone had posted a page of photos of girls and implied they were promiscuous. A student asked, "Why is it that girls get called horrible names and boys don't? The boys are doing the same things the girls are doing but they aren't being called names." Many of the students passed the talking piece without speaking and then one student who hadn't spoken before added, "I think it's really terrible, because one of my friends is on that page and she doesn't deserve to be." Another male student talked about how not all boys call the girls those names and noted that girls are responsible for the name-calling too. Right before the bell rang to dismiss the class, another student yelled out, "We need to stop calling each other names!"

  • Restorative Practices Testimonials

    The process showed the teacher a different side of the student and it showed the humanity of the teacher. A lot of our kids don't realize that teachers are humans, too. Everything is going well with this student and teacher now. They established and built a foundation for a relationship. Both the student and the teacher were both adamant about not being removed from the classroom. She sees a different side of him and sees him as a whole child - not just the side that was causing the friction in the classroom. - Kendra Peterson, Asst. Principal at Lawndale

    Thanks for being here this morning. As you know, things went great. I want to thank you for helping facilitate this problem and breaking through with [student]. Him opening up and identifying his needs help is a HUGE step. I have referred him to Richstone. Thanks for all you do. -Ben Wardrop, Asst. Principal at Lawndale

    I wish they had had this [Restorative Practices] when I was in high school. This is a much better way of handling things. - Parent of a student at Lawndale

    I don't care if the teacher has a Master's Degree, I just want the teacher to connect with my child. - Parent of a student at Lawndale

    During the Community Building Circle, the process opened up the students to better interact with each other so they can talk in front of the entire class without having to stand up. In the circle, students sit next to people who they are comfortable with and can talk with people who they aren't so comfortable with. They're able to share feelings and ask questions about things that they weren't normally used to talking about with each other. It also builds empathy and hearing each other in a way that allows them to understand, "Oh, he felt good or bad about that situation, too." - Teacher at Lloyde High School

    [The RJ Project's] wisdom, support, and guidance will allow our staff to continue to increase safety and a sense of belonging among students participating in our Afterschool programs. Thank you. - Riverside Unified School District After School Program

    The implementation of Restorative Practices is a great step forward for the LMU Division of Student Affairs. These practices are well situated in the context of education of the whole person as they are a tool to further our work around dialogue across difference and controversy with civility. - Elena M. Bove, Ed.D., Senior Vice President for Student Affairs

    It was well structured and took all opinions into account - LMU Student

    Good to have direct communication between parties, creates better understanding - LMU Staff

    Additional Comments from Teachers about implementing Restorative Practices

    • Fewer classroom arguments
    • Students begin to respond to minimal instruction
    • Able to "buy-back" instruction time
    • Improves interpersonal skills
    • Better relationships


To find ways to collaborate with the RJ Project, please contact Schoene Mahmood at or 310.338.4442.

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