April 15, 2010 Kent County Levy Court, Dover


The first Annual Restorative Justice in Delaware Conference will take place on Thursday, April 15, in Dover at the conference room of Kent County Levy Court, off Route 1 according to Dr. Charito Calvachi-Mateyko, of Lewes, the chair of the Latino Initiative on Restorative Justice, Inc., the organizer of the event.

“Our purpose is to network among Delaware participants and discuss with the nation’s leading authorities, how restorative justice can be applied in education, social services, domestic violence, the judiciary, correctional facilities, and in land use planning to improve outcomes and reduce costs,” said Dr. Calvachi-Mateyko. “More than anything restorative justice is a dialogue that emphasizes needs and obligations as a response to build community and deal with conflict and crime.”

The conference features authorities on restorative justice in America including Howard Zehr, PhD, Eastern Mennonite University; Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz, Co-Director, MCC Office on Justice & Peacebuilding; Linda Mills, JD, MSW, PhD, Senior Vice Provost; Professor, Social Work, Public Policy and Law; New York University; Barbara Toews, PhD candidate, Bryn Mawr College; Nancy Riestenberg, Prevention Specialist, Minnesota Dept. of Education; Patti Noss, executive director of It Takes A Village; Kay Pranis, Eastern Mennonite University.

The cost, including lunch is $45 and five Educational Training Credits are available.

Registration is at 8:30 AM but pre-registration is advised since only a few dozen seats remain. The Levy Court building is located at zip code 19901.

“For many in the Lewes area this is an important time to reflect on a justice that heals”, said Calvachi-Mateyko. “But we’re getting a strong response from all over the state, from social services, educators, from the therapy community, the judiciary, the religious community and academia.”

Kim Book, executive director of Victim Voices Heard, of Dover, and a participant in the conference noted that, “victims’ of violent crime often feel stuck after years of living with the effects crime has had on their lives. They want to move forward but don’t know how. Meeting with the person who committed the crime, hearing them take responsibility and express remorse often times provides victims with the tools they need to move forward and regain control of their lives. Victims walk away from the face-to-face meeting feeling they have unburdened themselves of a heavy load. A load they have been carrying for years and now can leave with the offender.”

Ms Book, added, “For offenders, it is an opportunity to experience what it means to do the right thing and take ownership for their actions. Offenders can never fully grasp the magnitude of harm the crime has had on a victims’ life without hearing about that harm directly from the person who experienced it. Face-to-face dialogues are an opportunity to embrace what it means to feel whole and to create balance between both parties.”

Barbara Del Mastro, Executive Director of The Way Home based in Georgetown, notes: that “the restorative process enabled many of us to get in touch with and express feelings that have been beyond our conscious reach.”

The conference is sponsored by a generous grant from the Arsht-Cannon Fund, part of the Delaware Community Fund. It is also sponsored by the Governor’s Advisory Council on Hispanic Affairs, Delaware Pacem in Terris, Delaware Center for Justice and the Delaware League of Women Voters, in partnership with the Department of Children and Youth and Their Families, University of Delaware, Delaware State University and the Mennonite Central Committee.

For more information contact Dr. Charito Calvachi-Mateyko at 717-951-0905 or 302-645-2657 or at