The auditorium buzzed with anticipation as three of the most prominent figures in the realm of Restorative Justice in Italy – Prof. Grazia Mannozzi, Gian Luigi Lepri, and Dr. Chiara Perini – took to the stage. The trio’s combined expertise promised a deep dive into the concept of the ‘Restorative City’, a subject close to the hearts of many attendees.
Prof. Mannozzi, renowned for her work as a full professor of Criminal Law and Restorative Justice at the University of Insubria, kicked off the presentation by outlining the primary objectives of the EFRJ Working Group on Restorative City. Her former role as Chair of this influential group positioned her perfectly to elucidate the vision and challenges faced by the initiative. With a blend of academic rigor and practical insights, Mannozzi painted a vivid picture of a city where harm is repaired, relationships are nurtured, and communities actively participate in shaping their shared environment.
Gian Luigi Lepri, the current Chair of the EFRJ Working Group on Restorative City, followed suit. Building on Mannozzi’s foundation, he delved into the tangible aspects of implementing the Restorative Justice program. Through a series of case studies and on-ground experiences, Lepri showcased the transformative potential of restorative practices when applied at a city-wide level. He underscored the importance of an inclusive approach, drawing in stakeholders from various sectors of society to collectively reimagine and rebuild urban spaces anchored in justice, equity, and community welfare.
The baton was then passed to Dr. Chiara Perini, associate professor of Criminal Law and Restorative Justice at the University of Insubria. Her focus was on the intertwining narratives of law and restorative practices. Dr. Perini delved into the challenges and complexities of integrating restorative justice principles into the very fabric of a city’s legal and administrative frameworks. Through a meticulous analysis of legal cases and policy changes, she demonstrated the intricacies of crafting legislation that fosters a restorative ethos without compromising on the core tenets of criminal law.
Throughout the presentation, the trio emphasized the multi-faceted nature of the ‘Restorative City’ concept. They spoke of it not just as a theoretical construct, but as a living, breathing entity that evolves with its inhabitants. From urban planning to community engagement, from policy-making to grassroots initiatives, the Restorative City was portrayed as an ecosystem where every component, no matter how minute, plays a pivotal role in creating an environment of harmony, understanding, and mutual respect.
As the session drew to a close, the message was clear: the journey to a Restorative City is neither short nor simple. It demands collective effort, persistent advocacy, and a profound shift in societal perspectives. However, as Mannozzi, Lepri, and Perini showcased, the rewards – a city that heals, learns, and grows together – are well worth the endeavor.
The presentation by the Italian trio left the audience both enlightened and inspired. It served as a clarion call for cities worldwide to embrace the restorative paradigm, proving that with commitment, collaboration, and a shared vision, the dream of a Restorative City can indeed become a reality.