In school and out of prison

Fania Davis shares strategies for restorative justice

By Mount Mary University

Posted on November 28, 2019

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Social activist and civil rights attorney Fania Davis visited campus Oct. 7-10 to share her practical knowledge of restorative justice with students, faculty and the community. She held workshops and other presentations, and met informally with students such as Mount Mary’s Caroline Scholars, who share her passion for social justice.

Students, from Caroline Scholars to counseling and social work students, had numerous opportunities to learn and discuss their own perspectives, gained in Mount Mary’s signature course, Leadership for Social Justice.

In her keynote session, Davis explained how restorative justice practices such as community building, conflict resolution and re-entry circles are utilized as a means to keep students in school, citing the fact that 75% of prison inmates never complete high school, and that students who are suspended by ninth grade are three times more likely to be incarcerated.

Among the attendees interested in restorative justice practices to improve outcomes were Milwaukee Public Schools Board President Larry Miller, Walnut Way Co-Founder Sharon Adams, Mayor Kathleen Ehley of Wauwatosa, and MPS Restorative Justice Supervisor Chauna Perry Finch.

“Restorative justice comes up with more creative responses to harm versus causing more harm,” Davis said.

Davis co-founded the Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY) in Oakland, Calif., and received many humanitarian awards. The Los Angeles Times named Davis a new civil rights leader of the 21st century.

Her engagement on campus was arranged through the Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows program and funded by the Women’s Leadership Institute through endowments established by Virginia Cornyn ’62 and Nancy Cheski ’65.

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