The fifth annual Symposium on Restorative Justice, Punishment and the Death Penalty will be held on Nov. 19 in the UVU Library Lecture Hall (LI120). Speakers, panel discussions and book signings will be between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (see sidebar for the day’s schedule). The symposium is sponsored by the Peace and Justice Studies and Integrated Studies Programs.
The central topic of the symposium asks the question: Are the death penalty and other forms of punishment the best ways to respond to crime?
“Students, faculty and community members should be aware of how a society treats its offenders,” said Michael Minch, director of Peace and Justice Studies. “All citizens should be interested in who gets locked up, who gets killed, and what percentage of their citizens are incarcerated.”
Restorative Justice, a growing movement in the U.S. and around the world, finds creative ways for victims to receive justice from criminals who have harmed them. It also allows criminals an opportunity to restore some measure of justice to their victims. The goal is to heal the victim’s sense of loss and to restore a sense of accountability and dignity to the perpetrator of the crime.
The symposium was created to educate the public on capital punishment as a human rights issue with perspectives from differing world views.
For the symposium, UVU will be hosting some of the world’s most highly-regarded scholars on these subjects. The most recognized is Dr. Howard Zehr, known in his field as the grandfather of Restorative Justice. Zehr, a professor of Sociology and Restorative Justice at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, also serves as co-director of the Center for Justice and Peace Building. Zehr previously served 19 years as director of the Mennonite Central Committee’s Office on Crime and Justice. He is also the author of the book CHANGING LENSES: A NEW FOCUS FOR CRIME AND JUSTICE that has been a foundational work in the growing restorative justice movement.
“We should care deeply about our democracy, about nurturing it and strengthening it, and we should care about justice,” said Minch. “Concerned citizens want to know why so many fellow citizens are incarcerated, and what can be done about crime and sentencing to promote justice rather than mere punishment.”
Other speakers include Michael L. Radelet, professor of Sociology at the University of Colorado-Boulder and Howard Morton, the co-founder and Executive Director of Families of Homicide Victims and Missing Persons, Inc.
For more information about the conference, contact Mark Olson, coordinator of Integrated and Interdisciplinary Studies at Mark.Olson@uvu.edu or Michael Minch, director of Peace and Justice Studies at MMinch@uvu.edu or consult the website at www.uvu.edu/is/symposium.
The 5th Annual Symposium on Restorative Justice and the Death Penalty
8:30 – 9:45 a.m.
Co-Founder, Families of Homicide Victims and Missing Persons, Inc.
“Unsolved Murders Juxtaposed to the Death Penalty”
10:00 -11:15 a.m.
Professor of Sociology, University of Colorado-Boulder
“Does the Death Penalty Help Families of Homicide Victims?”
1:00 – 2:15 p.m.
Professor of Restorative Justice, Eastern Mennonite University
“The Promise and Challenge of Restorative Justice for Victims”
2:30- 3:45 p.m.
With Morton, Radelet, and Zehr
3:45 – 4:30 p.m.
Book Signing With Guest Scholars
Lakeview Room, refreshments will be served