U.S. Congressman Danny K. Davis of the 7th Congressional District of Illinois is serving his sixth term in Congress representing the people of the Chicago area. Along with Representative Rob Portman (R-Ohio) he introduced the Second Chance Act in 2004, and reintroduced this legislation in the current session. The Act focuses on the problems of recidivism of ex-offenders and allocates federal dollars towards a continuum of reentry programs that include housing, education, health, employment and mentoring services. Congressman Davis will share a first-hand account of the development of this legislation and the obstacles he has encountered to its passage. He will assess the tensions of the legislative process and the reality of some 600,000 Americans who face the challenges of reentry each year. Congressman Davis is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Congressional Community Health Centers Caucus, among others, and is a Regional Whip in the Democratic Caucus. In the 105th Congress he sponsored the initiative to quadruple the Access to Jobs funding, one of only two successful amendments to the transportation authorization bill; in the 106th he sponsored the bi-partisan Community Renewal Act, designed to bring investment and jobs to economically impacted communities. Prior to becoming a member of Congress he served on the Cook County Board of Commissioners for six years. He also served for eleven years as a member of the Chicago City Council as Alderman of the 29th Ward.
Congressman Davis is scheduled to provide the opening keynote of the conference at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 24, 2007.
Justice Janine P. Geske currently serves as a Distinguished Professor of Law at the Marquette University Law School and is the founder and director of its Restorative Justice Initiative. She previously served as a Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge for twelve years and a Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice for five years. In the middle of her elected ten year term, she left the Supreme Court to return to the community and work with the poor and to teach law students how to live as professionals who help transform communities for the better. She also has served as the Interim Milwaukee County Executive, and as Interim Dean of the Marquette Law School. In her current role, she teaches restorative justice, supervises the Marquette Restorative Justice Clinic and works extensively with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, victims groups, prosecutors, police, social service agencies, neighborhood associations and other restorative justice programs to design restorative processes that meet their respective needs to work toward restoring the harm. She wrote “Why I Teach Restorative Justice to Law Students” in Marquette Law Review 328 (2006).
Justice Geske will provide a Tuesday morning keynote on June 26 at 9:00 a.m. entitled, “Restoring the Harms in Cases of Clergy Abuse”.
Dr. Mark Umbreit is Professor and founding Director of the Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking at the University of Minnesota, School of Social Work. He is an internationally recognized practitioner and scholar with more than thirty-five years experience as a mediator, trainer, researcher, and author. As a practitioner, he specializes in facilitating dialogue between the family survivors/victims of severe violence and the offender. The Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking is supported by the Office for Victims of Crime of the U.S. Department of Justice, for whom Dr. Umbreit has served as a consultant and trainer for twenty-four years.
Mark Umbreit’s participation at the conference is sponsored by the College of Public Policy and the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Texas at San Antonio. His keynote presentation is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on Monday morning, June 25, 2007.
From 1994 to 2003 Kay Pranis served as the Restorative Justice Planner for the Minnesota Department of Corrections. A champion of peacemaking circles, her work focuses on promoting the use of restorative justice principles in the criminal justice system and in communities by providing training and technical assistance to courts, correctional facilities, schools, and community groups. Kay is the author of The Little Book of Circle Processes: A New/Old Approach to Peacemaking (Good Books, 2005). She is a consultant for the National Institute of Justice and the National Institute of Corrections, among other organizations.
Kay Pranis’ participation at the conference is underwritten and sponsored by the William P. Lytle SoL Center Endowment for Peace and Justice Issues, a financial component of the SoL (Source of Light) Center at University Presbyterian Church, San Antonio, Texas. Her keynote presentation is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon, June 26, 2007.
Dr. Howard Zehr is considered one of the founders of the contemporary restorative justice movement. An internationally recognized practitioner, he is a writer, lecturer, and teacher in the field of criminal justice who has worked with community groups, police, and correctional agencies in countries such as Northern Ireland, England, Russia, Jamaica, Bosnia, New Zealand and South Africa. His seminal book, Changing Lenses: A New Focus for Crime and Justice, is widely regarded as a standard in the field. Howard was one of the early pioneers in victim-offender mediation and continues to be involved in this and related work. One of his primary areas of concern is the role of victims in justice and especially in restorative justice programs. He and a colleague were appointed by the federal court in the Timothy McVeigh Oklahoma City bombing trial to assist attorneys in working with victims. Out of this developed a program of exchange visits of survivors from the U.S. embassy bombing in Nairobi, Kenya, and the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. Another outcome is an ongoing initiative to sensitize defense attorneys to victims’ perspectives and to incorporate survivors’ voices in death penalty cases. A Mennonite, Howard received his B.A. from Morehouse College (the first white graduate of this historically African American college), his M.A. from the University of Chicago, and his Ph.D. from Rutgers University.
Howard Zehr’s participation at the conference is generously underwritten and sponsored by the Baptist General Convention of Texas. His keynote presentation is scheduled for 2:45 p.m. on Sunday, June 24, 2007.
Elaine Enns and Ched Myers are members of Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries, which Ched co-founded and serves as Program Director. He is the author of such books as “…and distributed it to whoever had need”: The Biblical Vision of Sabbath Economics (2001), and Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of Mark’s Story of Jesus (1988), which won the Catholic Press Association Book Award in scripture. A scholar, writer, and frequent workshop leader, Ched is also a board member ofSojourners Magazine. He holds an M.A. with honors in New Testament from the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley (1984). Elaine has been working in the field of restorative justice and conflict transformation since 1989 as a mediator, consultant, educator, and trainer. She provides mediation and consultation services and conducts seminars throughout North America. She currently collaborates with the Center for Restorative Justice Works, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and has worked with the Center for Peacemaking and Conflict Studies of Fresno Pacific University, and Christians Empowering for Reconciliation and Justice. Elaine holds a Bachelors degree from the Canadian Mennonite Bible College, Winnipeg, Manitoba (1989), and a Master of Arts in Conflict Management and Peacemaking/Theology from the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, Fresno, California (1995). Elaine often partners with her husband, Ched Myers, to teach on the theology and practice of restorative justice. They currently are working on a book on the subject.
Elaine and Ched will make two keynote presentations to the conference, one on Sunday, June 24, at 3:45 p.m. (“Broadening the Definition and Practices of Restorative Justice”) and also on Monday, June 25, at 7:30 p.m. (“Queries, Testimonies and Advice Concerning Restorative Justice: A Plea for Cross-Fertilization”).
Dr. Gordon Bazemore is Director of the Community Justice Institute of Florida Atlantic University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. His primary research interests include juvenile justice, youth policy, community policing, corrections, and victims’ issues. He has recently directed several evaluations of juvenile justice, corrections, and policing initiatives funded by the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Gordon Bazemore’s participation at the conference is sponsored by the Correction Management Institute of Texas at Sam Houston State University. His keynote presentation is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Sunday evening, June 24, 2007.
Leigh Garrett is the Chief Executive Officer of the Offenders Aid & Rehabilitation Services of SA Inc (OARS SA), and the Director of the Centre for Restorative Justice in Adelaide South Australia. Leigh has been a practitioner and leader in the criminal justice field in South Australia for nearly 20 year and CEO of OARS SA for 13 years. Much of Leigh’s work focuses on how to adjust systems so that sustainable change can occur to embrace restorative practices, and he has a particular interest in leadership development and how leaders can embrace restorative practices in their daily roles. In December 2002 he received a National Award as Chief Executive of the Year for NFP Organizations. The award recognized excellence in leadership and creativity and provided funds for a study tour. Leigh attended training in Circling and Conferencing at The Centre for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking in Minnesota, studied restorative justice system change in the USA, the UK, and the Netherlands, and attended conferences in Portugal and the Netherlands on restorative justice. He has been a member of the Correctional Services Ministerial Advisory Committee, currently serves on the Supported Accommodation Ministerial Advisory Committee, and is a member of the Alcohol & Other Drugs Council of Australia Justice Reference Group. Leigh is the South Australian State Chair of the Australian Crime Prevention Council and serves on its fledgling National Executive.
Leigh’s keynote is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 26, 2007.