Volume 18, Issue 1/2, 2009
The Origins of Restorative Conferencing
Terry O’Connell helped pioneer restorative justice in Australia, the United Kingdom and North America. A 30-year police veteran, he worked with the Thames Valley Police service developing restorative practices in the UK, including its use in police agency complaints and discipline systems. O’Connell is responsible for the creation of the Real Justice conference script, a Socratic approach that focuses on asking restorative questions. O’Connell realized that letting people talk about how they were affected by the actions of others was
more effective than blaming and punishing offenders. As director of Real Justice Australia, an IIRP program, he has expanded this model to a range of family, community, institutional and workplace settings. In schools in particular, restorative practices has been a catalyst for change, helping teachers, students and parents strengthen relationships, improve school culture and reduce discipline problems.