Sunday, April 03, 2016

Breaking the Mold w/ New #RestorativeJustice Program at University of St. Joseph, West Hartford, #CT

'I hope students gain a passion for restorative justice theory and practice through their degree at USJ.'

By Kathleen M. Mullin, J.D.
Criminal / Restorative Justice Program

WEST HARTFORD, CT -- In the past, the criminal justice system has focused almost exclusively on punishment, with incarceration heavily favored. As a result, today the US is the largest jailer of people in anywhere in the world and approximately one in four US adults has a criminal record.

Knowing we cannot and must not continue with this trend, there is now a tremendous shift towards restorative justice – nationally, regionally and locally. Restorative Justice breaks the previous mold, offering individuals an opportunity for acceptance, healing and growth.

When there is a crime, that crime causes a break in our societal fabric, the same as other disruptive behaviors like truancy, delinquency and addiction. Each of those breaks leaves those around the break harmed and hurting and leaves those who caused the break scarred, ostracized and shut out of opportunity. Restorative justice encourages an acceptance of personal responsibility by those who have caused the harm and then focuses on giving a voice to those most affected by the harm, providing acceptable punishment and implementing a community supported opportunity for restoration back to society.

Determined to go beyond incarceration as punishment, restorative justice is an alternate form of justice which focuses on the full scope of harm, the needs of victims, the responsibility of offenders and the roles of community and government.

I hope students gain a passion for restorative justice theory and practice through their degree at USJ.

In this program, whether you leave here to become a nurse, a social worker, or a lawyer, I want you to take with you this burning flame for the oneness our society and a deep understanding that there is no “us” and “them.” There is only us. We must work together, particularly when there is trauma or harm to heal and restore us all.

About Professor Mullin, From the Courtroom to the Classroom

From her early days as a public defender to running her own law firm specializing in high-profile criminal cases, Kathleen Mullin, J.D., has had a passionate love affair with the law for more than 25 years.

Her experience has taken her from courtrooms to television as a legal analyst and trial commentator and to law schools teaching as an adjunct professor.

Now, Professor Mullin once again uses her legal experience to better the next generation of criminal and social justice workers as the Director of the University of Saint Joseph’s (USJ) Criminal /Restorative Justice program.

“I love to empower my students to find joy and fulfillment in their studies and to share the wisdom that I’ve gathered along my way,” says Mullin. “To me, the teacher / student relationship is symbiotic. When I’m in a classroom, I teach and I learn, every single time. It’s something that I truly enjoy and which reenergizes my creativity, my spirit for the law, and my commitment to justice for all.”

The Importance of Field Work

Through her work in this program, Professor Mullin emphasizes the importance of real-world experience for students interested in pursuing this field. Offering intern- and externship opportunities with businesses and organizations in the area, USJ’s Criminal/ Restorative Justice program focuses on offering students first-hand experience in order to discover their passions.

“I hope to plant opportunities out there and allow USJ students to step into the world and experience something that may light a fire in them,” says Professor Mullin, who discovered her passion for criminal defense work during law school in the criminal clinic program at Boston University.

  • Restorative Justice Debut Newsletter

  • Restorative Justice Curriculum Highlights

  • Follow Restorative Justice Twitter Feed

  • University of St. Joseph Home Page

  • Follow University of St. Joseph Twitter Feed

  • University of St. Joseph Facebook Page

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