On June 2, 2015, Loyola Law School Professor Scott Wood received the Bert Thompson Pioneer Award from the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice at their national conference in Fort Lauderdale. Professor Wood was recognized as a leader in Los Angeles for faith-based Restorative Justice work. He accepted the award on behalf of the Loyola Marymount University (LMU) Center for Urban Resilience (CURes) and, specifically, his colleagues working on the Restorative Justice Project. Professor Wood is an alumnus of LMU, graduating in the class of ’66.
Restorative Justice (RJ) is an innovative alternative to the punitive system, whereby people are held accountable for their behavior at the community level. The RJ process allows everyone involved in a crime or conflict to work collectively toward community-based solutions. Such community-based solutions present the potential to addresses root causes of oppositional or deviant behavior. By addressing root causes, RJ decreases the likelihood of recurrence. As such, RJ serves as a more meaningful way to handle offenses; it attempts to redefine crime as an injury to people and their relationships and turns the emphasis towards repairing those relationships.
Professor Wood founded the Restorative Justice Project at Loyola Law School, which is only the second law school in the nation to house such an initiative. His work has helped establish LMU as a leader in restorative work throughout Los Angeles County. At LMU, CURes utilizes urban ecology to empower communities to build resilient, vibrant, and just cities through meaningful interactions with their diverse ecosystems. CURes’ Restorative Justice Project (RJ Project) offers training and programs in Restorative Practices designed to support CURes’ vision to advance urban health and resilience.
The Bert Thompson Pioneer Award recognizes individuals, organizations or groups for a record of sustained and important contributions to restorative and/or community justice education, research or practice focused on producing safer and more livable communities through: theory development, theory testing, evaluation research and program design and implementation.
“We are delighted to celebrate the award with Scott as his award was so richly deserved. We are blessed to have him as a senior advisor at the Center for Urban Resilience and will work hard to uphold his legacy and capacity as a humanitarian scholar” said Dr. Eric Strauss, Executive Director of CURes, upon hearing the news.
Click here for more information about the RJ Project at CURes.
About the Author: Schoene Mahmood is the Restorative Justice Specialist at CURes’ Restorative Justice Project (RJ Project). Ms. Mahmood brings nearly a decade of experience implementing Restorative Practices programs and facilitating Community Conferences. She is currently overseeing partnerships with Centinela Valley Union High School District, Aspire Public Schools, and Alliance Middle School #12.