Restorative Justice Conference puts human face on statistics

Sponsored by Fresno Pacific University

People from both sides of the victim-offender equation will be part of the 10thAnnual Restorative Justice Conference sponsored by the Center for Peacemaking and Conflict Studies at Fresno Pacific University.

The event, titled “Violence and the Journey Towards Restoration,” will be November 14-15 at Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, at the corner of Chestnut and Butler in Fresno. A pre-conference training will take place November 13.

Wilma Derksen and Joe Avila are among the speakers. Dirksen’s journey through grief after the abduction and death of her 13-year-old daughter led her to found Victim’s Voice, a program that promotes meetings between victims and offenders at Stony Mountain Prison in Manitoba, Canada. Avila was the driver in a car crash that killed a 17-year-old girl. Now Avila is executive director of Prison Fellowship for the Central and Northern California/Nevada Area.

Highlights include a session exploring the possibility of setting up Fresno County as a restorative justice model, and a showing of the film Journey Toward Forgiveness, as aired on the ABC television network. Trainers are Ron Claassen, director of the CPACS; Doug Noll, attorney and peacemaker; Charlotte Tikes, offender programs manager, Fresno County Sheriff’s Department; and Phil Kader, Fresno County Probation Department.

To register, telephone 559-455-5840 or 1-800-909-8677, or mail registration form and payment to Restorative Justice Project, Center for Peacemaking and Conflict Studies, 1717 S. Chestnut Avenue, Box 2202, Fresno, CA 93702. Information is also available on the Web at

Co-sponsors are Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP) of the Central Valley, West Coast Mennonite Central Committee, Prison Fellowship/Justice Fellowship, Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) Central California Chapter, Home Town Buffet, Fresno County Probation Department and Fresno Metro Ministries.