In the fall of 2019, the Detroit Justice Center (DJC) undertook a national and local ecosystem assessment of Restorative Justice (RJ) programs and practitioners who are using RJ as a means to building alternative models of justice and accountability that is responsive to the needs of survivors and functions to reduce future harm. An emergent theme across conversations with Detroit-area practitioners was a desire to advance RJ across local sectors. Naturally, DJC and our partners recognized that the sustainable advancement of RJ necessitates strong organizing via the centralizing of local resources. To this end, the vision for the Metro Detroit Restorative Justice Network (MDRJN) was conceived. The MDRJN is therefore a special project of the Just Cities Lab at the Detroit Justice Center.
The Metro Detroit Restorative Justice Network (MDRJN) is a multi-sector network of practitioners, advocates, and community members seeking to increase support for, and access to, a sustainable restorative justice infrastructure as one avenue for systemic alternatives to punitive justice.
Conventional approaches to harm have historically centered the will and interest of system actors (i.e., law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, etc.) over the needs of those directly impacted by the harming event. Accordingly, punitive responses to harm, therefore, fail to facilitate meaningful accountability informed by the expressed needs of those involved. The systemic and persistent denial of person-centered justice processes results in the perpetuation of harm and disrupts the advancement of healing.
Operating from this understanding, the MDRJN recognizes Restorative Justice and Restorative Practices as a viable alternative to punitive justice. Restorative Justice centers the needs of the directly impacted and attempts to honors those needs accordingly. Thus, the MDRJN promotes a vision of holistic, person-centered justice, which is recognized as one of many neccessary operable alternativse to retributive justice and a path towards preventing future harm.
Founder, Metro Detroit Restorative Justice Network
Angel McKissic is a daughter, mother, partner, student, organizer, and advocate for the non-human, living world. She is a Senior Program Manager in the Just Cities Lab at the Detroit Justice Center, and the co-founder of Metro Detroit Restorative Justice Network (MDRJN). Through her work with the MDRJN she tries (and sometimes fails) to lead through the embodiment of her guiding values: justice, relationship, universal love, empathy, and rigorous accountability. She is encouraged, challenged, and nourished by her children, community, and members of the MDRJN. Angel is a psychotherapist by training and is currently completing a PhD in gender and sexuality at the University of Birmingham (UK). She believes in decentralized, intergenerational, community-based power as foundational to global liberation. She enjoys fine chocolates, mycology, and obscure international films.
Barbara Jones - Wayne State University | Faculty, Center for Peace and Conflict Studies
Barbara L. Jones, lifelong Detroiter and community activist, organizer and youth-violence prevention advocate is the Community Dispute Resolution Specialist and Faculty Instructor for the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies Program at Wayne State University. She is the Program Director for the Ralph Bunche Summer Institute, a program that delivers expertise training in a higher learning academic setting that provides high school youth development services that focus on civic engagement, conflict resolution intervention, violence prevention, bullying, diversity, civil rights, race relations, negotiation, leadership, international affairs, diplomacy, social justice and crucial life skills with the overarching theme and tools of how to teach students to individually and collectively foster peace within their own schools and communities.
Barbara has over 22 years of broadcast media advertising and marketing experience. She has worked for media organizations including Continental Cable, Media One, AT & T, Comcast, Clear Channel and WDET Detroit Public Radio. Her teaching experience also includes Career Services Advisor and Instructor for Specs Howard School of Media Arts and Adjunct Faculty with Wayne County Community College District.
Barbara mentors and advocates for the youth and students at WSU as well as scores of youth in Detroit and in the metro Detroit area in a variety of capacities in schools and organizations
Belinda Dulin - Dispute Resolution Center | Executive Director
Belinda Dulin is the Executive Director of The Dispute Resolution Center, serving Washtenaw and Livingston Counties. As the executive director of the DRC, she and her team have implemented a variety of conflict resolution programs in district and circuit courts. Additionally, services have been provided to schools serving students, families, and school staff in identifying and resolving barriers and issues that affect student relationships. The DRC partners with the Washtenaw County Peacemaking Court to provide peacemaking circles to families in the child protection and delinquency systems.
Tashmica Torok - Firecracker Foundation | Founding Co-Director
Tashmica Torok is a nationally recognized survivor activist working to end child sexual abuse. She is a powerhouse fundraiser and movement maker who has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless volunteer hours in support of her work.
She is a member of the Just Beginnings Inaugural Cohort, Lansing Area Transformative Justice Collective, MSU’s SANE Advisory Board, and Survivor Strong’s Board of Directors. She has trained hundreds of parents, educators, social workers, and other community stakeholders in topics related to child sexual abuse, trauma, militant self-care, and prevention. She is also a published storyteller. Most recently, she is a contributor to Love With Accountability: Digging up the roots of child sexual abuse which is currently available on AK Press.
Tashmica has been awarded the Michigan Jaycees Foundation’s Outstanding Young Michigander Award in 2014, USA Network’s 2015 Characters Unite Award, the 2016 Emerging Leader Award from Sistrum: the Lansing Women’s Chorus, Child Advocate of the Year 2017 by the Lansing Exchange Club, and was the inaugural recipient of the Greater Lansing Inspirational Woman of the Year Award, in 2019. Most recently, she was appointed by Governor Whitmer to the Michigan Committee on Juvenile Justice.
Her biggest thrill continues to be accomplishing her heart work at The Firecracker Foundation with healing children, teens and families. As the executive director of The Firecracker Foundation, she incites riots of generosity and advocates for the healing of children and families every day. Tashmica is the kind of friend who always encourages you to do more. She’s a published storyteller and a nearly retired roller derby skater. She’s also the mother of three children, wife to a talented tile installer and a behind-the-scenes volunteer
Carrie Landrum - University of Michigan Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX and Prevention Education, Assistance and Resources | Adaptable Resolution and Restorative Practices Lead
Carrie belongs to Waawiiyaatanong, the crooked way where the river bends (Anishinaabemowin for Detroit). She tends land and plants seeds in the Lower Rouge River Watershed on land stewarded by Ojibwe, Odawa, Potawatomi, and Wyandotte tribes. She circled up with Grace Lee Boggs, Barbara L. Jones, Belinda Dulin, and others during the first contemporary gatherings of “restorative justice practitioners” in Michigan 2011 - 2014 organized in collaboration with Marcia Lee and other affiliates of the Detroit Area Restorative Justice Network. Carrie has also circled up with Fania Davis, Kay Pranis, Mark Umbreit, and Howard Zehr, among others; has learned restorative practices from sujatha baliga, Timothy Connors, Michael Petoskey, Edward Valandra, Robert Yazzie, and others; and has danced restorative practices with Katie Mansfield and many others.
Carrie was appointed as one of the commissioners on the Metro Detroit Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Racial Inequality in 2011 and received a University of Michigan Distinguished Diversity Leader award the same year. She has been facilitating restorative practices at the University of Michigan since 2007, including for cases of sexual harms since 2013. In 2017 Carrie was honored to represent the direction of South (emotions) in a large peacemaking circle three rings deep at the University of Michigan School of Social Work organized with Sandra Momper (Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians) and Niigaanii gimaakwe Abigail Eiler (of the Shawnee and Tuscarora). Carrie serves as the Adaptable Resolution and Restorative Practices Lead within the Equity, Civil Rights, and Title IX office of the University of Michigan, whose mission and work was made possible by land ceded to the university by the Three Fires Confederacy in 1817 in the Treaty at the Foot of the Rapids.