spalding-university-logoSpalding University has announced the establishment of its new Center for Restorative Justice, which will feature a program aimed at lowering youth incarceration rates in Kentucky.

In a press release issued Thursday, Spalding stated the Center for Restorative Justice will focus on compassion, restorative practices and improved behavioral and mental health outcomes for youth through its Center for Behavioral Health, along with a goal to “further the image of Kentucky as a compassionate and progressive state that recognizes the value of restorative methods as an alternative to incarceration for vulnerable youth.”

One million dollars was raised to establish the new program, which included a $500,000 matching grant from the James Graham Brown Foundation last year.

“Kentucky spends $50 million annually incarcerating juveniles within the Commonwealth,” Spalding president Tori Murden McClure said in the release. “Most of these incarcerated juveniles are non-violent, and Spalding University is leading a path for alternatives to incarceration by training psychologists, social workers, teachers and other service providers in restorative practices.”

Spalding is partnering with the nonprofit Restorative Justice Louisville on its new program, with faculty members and graduate students collaborating directly with RJL staff to provide community services.

“Spalding University is the perfect environment for a restorative justice education program to thrive,” said Metro Councilwoman Angela Leet, R-7, who is a trustee of Spalding’s board. “This program pairs the promotion of peace and justice with experiential learning, and the results will be sustainable and life changing for individuals and the community.”

Joe Sonka
Joe Sonka is a staff writer at Insider Louisville focusing on government, politics, education and public safety. He is a former news editor and staff writer at LEO Weekly and has also freelanced for The Nation and ThinkProgress. He has won first place awards from the Louisville Metro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in the categories of Health Reporting, Enterprise Reporting, Government/Politics, Minority/Women’s Affairs Reporting, Continuing Coverage and Best Blog. Email him at [email protected]