Friends of Restorative Justice (FORJ) is a group of people from Washtenaw County and surrounding areas who are working together to bring restorative justice to our community. We come from different backgrounds but all have a desire to change our punitive justice system to a more restorative system.
FORJ had its beginning with a few people back in 2013 who wanted to introduce a form of restorative justice called Victim Offender Conferencing to the juvenile court system. This small group of 7 reached out to Healing Communities, a local organization whose goal is prison reform, and together we formed Friends of Restorative Justice.
Through our community events we are becoming widely known in Washtenaw County. Some of our work towards restorative justice is:
- Work with the Dispute Resolution Center as volunteer mediators.
- Court watching in Washtenaw County courtrooms
- Peacemaking Court participants
- Meeting with juvenile court administrators
- Peacemaking circle facilitators
- Sponsors of restorative justice films at the Michigan Theater
- Meetings with local commissioners, sheriff, judges
- Event speakers: Fred Van Liew, Dennis Schranz, Kate Kesteloot Scarbrough