Restorative justice researchers Heather Strang and Larry Sherman (2015) argue, “In the past two decades, restorative justice has been the subject of more rigorous criminological research than perhaps any other strategy for crime prevention and victim support.” But this growing empirical evidence does not always inform program design and implementation. This episode explores the role of research and evaluation to support equitable systems design.
Dr. Anne Hobbs is a licensed attorney, a published research faculty member, as well as the director of the Juvenile Justice Institute at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She has served on a variety of advisory groups including the Nebraska Children’s Commission Juvenile Services Subcommittee, the Community Planning Advisory Group, the Nebraska Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, and the Nebraska Brain Injury Task Force. Through her research and active involvement, she is able to effect changes in juvenile justice reform, restorative practices, and victim rights. Dr. Hobbs began utilizing restorative practices 25 years ago, as the director of Juvenile Diversion for Lancaster County. She continues to be involved in implementing restorative practices in her state. Most recently she focused on victim issues and was a co-author on Nebraska’s Strategic Plan for Victims and Survivors of Crime. She was also a facilitator and author on the state’s STOP Violence Against Women Implementation Plan. She has seen firsthand the impact that restorative practices have on the lives of youth and the wellbeing of a community. Her other research interests include inequality in access to justice, juvenile re-entry after incarceration, and mentoring youth who have been involved in juvenile justice system.
Monica Miles-Steffens, MPA, has over 25 years of government and non-profit experience in juvenile justice, policy, training, and most recently restorative practices. She is a Juvenile Justice Coordinator at the Juvenile Justice Institute (JJI) at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Ms. Miles-Steffens work in restorative practices began in approximately 2018 when she had the opportunity to attend and speak at the Lutheran Community Cares Conference in Singapore. While working for Nebraska Probation Administration Juvenile Division, she was appointed to the Office of Dispute Resolution Advisory Committee and assisted in developing ethical standards for restorative justice work in Nebraska. She is a certified mediator and trained in restorative justice conferencing, facilitating conferences for youth at The Mediation Center in Lincoln, NE. She is on the Nebraska Mediation Association Board and co-chairs the training committee. In her role at JJI, she is overseeing the evaluation of restorative justice programs statewide.