In a comprehensive session, Marilyn Armour, an eminent figure in the realm of restorative justice, presented the ambitious initiative – the Restorative Justice Research Community (RJRC). This platform, as Armour eloquently described, serves as an interdisciplinary academic nexus, designed to spark collaboration, provide support, and ignite inspiration among researchers and scholars
Armour’s passion and dedication to the field were evident as she detailed the mission and activities of the RJRC. Funded by the National Center on Restorative Justice, the community isn’t just about theory; it’s about action, connection, and, importantly, inclusivity. It was clear that the RJRC had been meticulously conceptualized to address the pressing challenges of restorative justice research in a holistic manner.
Among the myriad of initiatives under the RJRC, a few stood out. The Fellowship Program, characterized as a “think-tank”, endeavors to dissect the fundamental challenges enveloping the restorative justice sphere. Then there’s the Restorative Inquiry – a mission to push forward restorative research methodologies, making them more robust, applicable, and accessible. Armour also highlighted a series of events, like the Justice Scholars seminar series, which provides a platform for scholars to collectively focus on evolving research needs. Not to mention the RJ library – a digital treasure trove for anyone keen on delving deeper into peer-reviewed research, tools, and related resources.
Yet, behind these initiatives, Armour emphasized a core belief – the need to remain anchored in restorative principles and values. It’s about transcending boundaries, whether they are disciplinary silos, geographic divides, or academic echo chambers.
For those unaware of Armour’s illustrious background, her credentials underscore her authority in this domain. As the founder of The Institute for Restorative Justice and Restorative Dialogue at The University of Texas at Austin, Armour has been instrumental in shaping discourse and practice. Her writings, notably the “Restorative Justice Dialogue”, have been hailed as seminal contributions, offering profound insights into the movement. Moreover, her research, with its focus on the lived experiences of homicide victims’ family members, has illuminated the profound intricacies of survivorship and the transformative potential of restorative justice.
However, what truly resonated during Armour’s presentation was her unwavering commitment to victim-centered restorative justice principles. She believes in healing – not just for the victims but for communities at large. This commitment is evident in her pioneering work with the Texas Model of Restorative Discipline, an initiative she has spearheaded in collaboration with the Texas Education Agency for state-wide implementation.
In wrapping up her session, Marilyn Armour left her audience with a potent message: the future of restorative justice research is promising, but it requires collective endeavor, commitment, and above all, a heart that believes in restoration and healing. The RJRC, under her guidance, promises to be the crucible where such aspirations take shape, grow, and eventually transform societies.