Current Research


Alana AbramsonAlana Abramson

Transformational Pedagogy

Alana Abramson

Alana Abramson was born and raised in the Lower Mainland. She has been involved with the field of restorative justice as both an academic and practitioner since 1999.  Alana was first inspired by the late Dr. Liz Elliott who introduced her to the topic of restorative justice during her undergraduate degree at SFU.  Since this transformative experience, she has written about the roles of police and community in restorative justice while completing her Honours and Masters Degree in the School of Criminology at SFU.  Alana is also a passionate community practitioner in the field of restorative justice and is the Executive Director of North Shore Restorative Justice Society.

Alana is currently working towards her doctoral degree with Dr. Brenda Morrison on the topic of the pedagogy of Restorative Justice within post-secondary education.  Her research interests include transformative learning, the ethic of care, and restorative justice in schools.


Colleen PawlychkaColleen Pawlychka

Punishment and Trauma

Colleen Pawlychka

Having completed her Master’s Degree in Winnipeg, MB, Colleen moved to BC in 2010 to complete her doctoral degree.  Her rich and varied background in Restorative Justice includes lived experiences, academic and research development, as well as work and volunteer experience.  She graduated from the University of Winnipeg with an interdisciplinary BA Honours degree focusing on Restorative Justice, and from the University of Manitoba with an MA degree in sociology. 

A doctoral student at Simon Fraser University, Colleen’s research interests include trauma, punishment, and presentation of restorative justice.  She is a facilitator in the Alternatives to Violence Program, a member of Favor Group (Ferndale Institution), and has been employed as a sessional instructor at SFU.  She is past co-chair of a Winnipeg Youth Justice Committee, member of Winnipeg Council of Justice Committees, and policy analyst with Manitoba Justice where she researched in the area of justice & RJ.  She is a recipient of an SFU Graduate Fellowship, SFU Law Foundation Scholarship in RJ, Dr. E.A. Fattah Graduate Scholarship in Criminology, SSHRC, Manitoba Graduate scholarships, and numerous scholarships in peace and conflict, humanities, criminal justice and sociology.

Colleen’s passion is working with inmates, community members and youth, striving to make peace, compassion and nonviolence a way of life.

* Consequence-v-Punishment-Pawlychka-C.pdf
Punishment or Logical Consequences: A Response to the Punishment Debate Within Restorative Justice


Tamera JenkinsTamera Jenkins

Forgiveness As A Healing Agent

Tamera Jenkins

Tamera Jenkins graduated in 2009 from Park University in Parkville, Missouri, USA with a BA in Criminal Justice/Corrections. As a 2010-2011 Canada -U.S. Fulbright Fellow, Tamera traveled to British Columbia where she is currently a MA student in the Department of Criminology at Simon Fraser University. Her Master’s thesis examines the potential for forgiveness to be a healing agent in cases of traumatic violence. She is the recipient of the Provost International Fellowship and an SFU Graduate Fellowship. She co-facilitates experiential workshops in conflict resolution as part of the Alternatives to Violence Project and is a member of FAVOR group, a restorative justice circle at Ferndale Institution.

* Forgiveness-as-a-Healing-Agent-Jenkins.pdf
Forgiveness as a Healing Agent in Cases of Traumatic Violence
Michelle FunkMichelle Funk

Comparative Justice Policy

Michelle Funk

Michelle is a Master’s Student in the Department of Criminology at Simon Fraser University. At the University of Manitoba, where she did her undergraduate degree in Criminology, she took her first class in restorative justice with Professor Andrew Woolford. During her undergraduate degree Michelle worked as a Student Border Officer and volunteered with The John Howard Society where she had the opportunity to tutor male inmates at the Winnipeg Remand Centre. When looking at potential grad schools Michelle chose Simon Fraser University because of The Centre for Restorative Justice and the opportunity to continue her education in restorative justice.

Michelle is interested in the multiple ways restorative justice can be utilized, specifically with victims and offenders of serious crimes. Michelle chose the practicum program for her Master’s and was able to work with the Restorative Justice Coordinator for the British Columbia Provincial Government. This placement inspired her Master’s Project which she is currently in the process of writing.

Michelle’s paper will draw upon research from international and national contexts where theory and research are preceding and guiding the current implementation of restorative justice. These cases will serve as examples to the use of restorative justice in British Columbia.

Tania ArvantidisTania Arvantidis

Riots: England and Vancouver

Tania Arvantidis

Tania Arvanitidis is an M.A. student at Simon Fraser University. She obtained her B.A. in Sociology and Social Psychology at the University of Guelph in 2009. During her undergraduate degree Tania worked as a volunteer peer counselor for the Student Support Network, a drop-peer counseling service run by the counseling services department, where she received extensive training in harm reduction and crisis intervention. Following graduation, she worked for several homeless shelters and transitional housing units for young people in the Toronto area. Locally, Tania is a member of the Board of Directors for the Vancouver Association for Restorative Justice.

Tania’s research interests include youth diversion and delinquency prevention, social exclusion, and community youth development programming. Her current research investigates how restorative and community justice principles may be used to respond to instances of street group violence and riot behavior.

* Letting-in-the-Locked-Out-Arvanitidis-T..pdf
Letting In the Locked Out: Empowering Marginalized Youth through Community Solidarity

Past Research


Melissa RobertsMelissa Roberts

Evaluating Evaluation

Melissa Roberts

Evaluating Evaluation: An Investigation Into The Purpose And Practice Of Evaluation In Restorative Justice Based Programs

Restorative justice (RJ) theory and practice has grown in the last 30 years, becoming an international movement to re-invent justice. With this growth, many have asked about the effectiveness of RJ alternatives. Researchers, practitioners and participants advocate its benefits, and typically, evaluation supports its continued use. The purpose of this thesis is twofold: to critically review the academic literature examining restorative justice evaluation; and, as an illustrative case study, to evaluate 160 participant feedback surveys completed between 2002 and 2008 from an RJ program, North Shore Restorative Justice Society (NSRJS). Results indicate that the majority of participants were satisfied with the program, felt it met their needs, and was successful. However, critical analysis of the literature, coupled with further analyses within the case study, suggest more work is needed to advance evaluation of restorative justice, including clarifying concepts and measures of success, information sharing, and conducting participatory action research.


Jane WhittingtonJane Whittington

Shame and Shaming in Restorative Practice

Jane Whittington

Shame and shaming are widely recognized as significant in restorative justice process. Current are theories of shame as an innate human affect and of shaming as a factor in reintegration of offenders and promotion of specific deterrence.

Existing research offers limited support for the theory of reintegrative shaming and its contribution to restorative justice procedures and reduced recidivism. There is also limited evidence in support of affect theory as an element in successful restorative justice procedures.

This study examines the way in which restorative justice practitioners understand, apply, and evaluate shame and shaming. Semi-structured interviews with nine experienced restorative justice practitioners indicate they hold widely varying understandings of shame. While there is broad support for the theory of reintegrative shaming, most practitioners view shaming with extreme caution or avoid it entirely. Affective learning and emotional transformation are seen as critical, with varied views on the role of shame and shaming.

Christy HickmoreChristy Hickmore

Circles of Recovery: A Web of Connection and Healing

Christy Hickmore

Alcohol and drug abuse not only generates, but also perpetrates a circle of harm. This detrimental cycle is the concern that prompted this study on effective mechanisms that promote and encourage recovery. Using restorative justice as a framework, models of peer support such as Alcoholics Anonymous and The Sanctuary Model (Bloom, 1997) were contextualized through qualitative measures. Five current members of Alcoholics Anonymous participated in semi-structured, in-depth interviews. Discussions focused on their experiences as alcoholics and/or addicts, both pre- and post-sobriety, and how their participation in the peer support group of Alcoholics Anonymous contributed to their recovery. The study found commonalities with Bloom’s (1997) Sanctuary Model but also uncovered emerging themes of interpersonal relationships and barriers that effect those connections, such as vulnerability and shame.  The results of this study indicate a need to foster safe environments and situations that allow people to be vulnerable. To be vulnerable takes courage, but in turn facilitates compassion and connection. By owning their stories, participants exemplified the courage to be vulnerable, and their courage had a ripple effect on others in Alcoholics Anonymous. In turn, their collective courage to share their story creates a compassionate and therapeutic environment that begets connection. Vulnerability creates connection and a sense of belonging; being connected and invested in others can work to heal past harms and prevent further harm.

Christy is completing her Honors designation for her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminology with a strong focus on Restorative Justice. Through Christy’s undergraduate education, she has been introduced to restorative principles, and she felt a natural fit with her interests in community development and addiction recovery. Outside of Simon Fraser University, Christy volunteers as a prison in-reach worker with the John Howard Society and co-facilitates a restorative justice circle inside a local institution.

Christy’s area of interest is community development and recovery from substance abuse. Currently, she is writing her Honors thesis titled “Circles of Recovery: A Web of Connection and Healing”. The aim of her research is to uncover personal experiences within the recovery group of Alcoholics Anonymous and how these experiences relate to the seven principles of The Sanctuary Model as developed by Sandra Bloom. Through her research, Christy has discovered that the power of interpersonal connection is a fundamental aspect of recovery and is also a common thread of The Sanctuary Model. Further, her research emphasizes that by embracing vulnerability people create opportunities for connection.

Pontus AgrenPontus Agren

Vancouver’s Restorative Art (RestArt)

Pontus Agren

Vancouver’s Restorative Art (RestArt) Anti-Graffiti Project: An Exploration And Evaluation Of The General And Specific Benefits And Challenges

This research explores and evaluates Vancouver’s RestArt project. RestArt uses an innovative, holistic approach in dealing with illegal hip-hop graffiti. Grounded in the principles of restorative justice, RestArt works directly with graffiti writers in helping them find legal, alternative avenues for their artistic talents. As RestArt is a relatively new program, this research examines the general and specific benefits and challenges that this holistic approach faces. Qualitative analysis suggests that RestArt is a process that works to address the needs of the victim, community, and offender. However, the evidence suggests that RestArt lacks a fully developed theoretical framework that explains a causal mechanism for why it works. Implications are reviewed and future considerations are discussed.

* AgrenHonoursThesis.pdf
Vancouver’s Restorative Art (Restart) Anti-Graffiti Project: An Exploration And Evaluation Of The General And Specific Benefits And Challenges
Renata RuffellRenata Ruffell

The Influence of Restorative-based Peer Mediation on Social Responsibility

Renata Ruffell

The Influence of Restorative-based Peer Mediation on Social Responsibility: Exploring the Developmental Potential in a Greater Vancouver Middle School

Numerous schools in the Greater Vancouver region have been implementing a variety of practices based on restorative justice. Some scholars have proposed that restorative action in schools may be linked with social responsibility. In order to explore this further, this study employed qualitative interviews with 12 youth and adults involved with a restorative-based peer mediation program at a local middle school. The goal of this program is to encourage socially responsible behaviour, particularly in regards to solving problems in peaceful ways. This study documents the implementation of the peer mediation program at the school. The findings suggest that the program may indeed promote social responsibility, although mainly for student mediators and the youth who go through mediation. The main recommendation is for schools to utilize a range of restorative practices using a whole school approach, which may help to further develop socially responsible behaviour in the entire school population.

Lara-Lisa Condello Lara-Lisa Condello

Penal Abolition: Anthem for a More Tolerant Tomorrow

Lara-Lisa Condello

Applying the visual arts and educational media to Criminology is an original approach to scholarship and social change. The thesis project combines a conventional print-based thesis with a documentary video. The print thesis and video project address the provocative, often misunderstood concepts of transformative justice and penal abolition. This exploratory and descriptive undertaking challenges the common-sense imagery depicted in mass media, that imprisonment and punishment are truly in the public interest, and the thesis and video both explore immoralities of criminal justice. An academic and socio-political debate on penality and our current criminal and social justice processes is presented for community education and discussion about the Canadian criminal justice system, offering an alternative critical source of information on social justice issues. This research explores options for social change, providing individuals an opportunity to exercise their critical thinking skills. To create a unique multimedia teaching tool about alternative ways of dealing with social problems is one step towards the establishment of transformative justice and penal abolitionism.

Hot Topics

Shannon Moroney

Meet Shannon Moroney
Speaker, Author, Advocate.

Through the Glass: A Memoir by Shannon Moroney

Through the Glass: A Memoir by Shannon Moroney

Doubleday Canada
October 2011
Simon & Schuster

An impassioned, harrowing and ultimately hopeful story of one woman's pursuit of justice, forgiveness and healing.

Anna Maria Tremonti and Shannon Moroney

Listen to Shannon's interview on The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti

Building from Betrayal