Restorative justice processes and practices in the United States associated with all stages of the criminal legal system have grown exponentially over the last three decades. From community-based pilot programs to national technical assistance and training, the interest in restorative approaches has generated challenges and opportunities for system design. Drawing on community-centered, participatory, and critical methodologies, this episode centers the direct question of what does it mean to define equitable systems design?
Jonathan Scharrer is the Director of the Restorative Justice Project at the University of Wisconsin Law School. He has extensive experience as a facilitator of restorative justice dialogues in sensitive and violent crimes and as a trainer in a variety of restorative justice practices. Jonathan is active in examining criminal justice policy—focusing on victim empowerment and addressing racial disparities in the criminal legal system—and has helped design and implement multiple restorative justice diversion programs and restorative responses to crime and harm. Additionally, he has served as a member of the advisory council for the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice since 2017.