Leadership and Innovation Award in Community and Restorative Justice


The National Association on Community and Restorative Justice will periodicly hone a recipient at its biannual conference for leadership in restorative and/or community justice. The award shall recognize individuals, groups or organizations that have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in the fields of restorative and community justice.

Award Criteria

The award shall recognize individuals/groups/organizations for exemplary leadership in restorative and/or community justice education, research and/or practice. The nominee(s):

  • Has made innovative contributions to the theory or practice in the field to broaden the application, apply principles and values, or develop new perspectives based on restorative or community justice.
  • Continually looks for innovative ways to improve his/her/their work and create outstanding results in the restorative and/or community justice fields.
  • Pursues opportunities and actively seeks innovative ways to advance the fields of restorative and/or community justice.
  • Recognizes, understands, and appreciates that people from multiple cultures and experiences view problems and opportunities differently.
  • Sets the example by always dealing ethically in all relationships and by maintaining the highest personal standards.
  • Seen as a bridge builder and peacemaker by others.
  • Models the principles, values and practices of restorative and/or community justice by:
    • Taking prompt, decisive action to avoid or resolve problems.
    • Sharing responsibility, leadership, vision, talent, and credit with others.
    • Extending respect and courtesy to all, no matter how difficult the circumstances.
    • Conducting their personal and professional lives consistent with those principles, values and practices.

Recipients of the Leadership and Innovation Award

2019 Recipient

David Karp


School of Leadership and Education Sciences, University of San Diego, San Diego, CA.

Leadership and Innovation Award in Community and Restorative Justice—Recognizes individuals, groups or organizations that have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in the fields of restorative and community justice. Click here for David’s accomplishments

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2017 Recipient

Sujatha Baliga

Promoting Youth RJ Diversion Programs, Bay Area, CA

2017 Leadership and Innovation award recipient, Sujatha Baliga

Sujatha Baliga is a pioneer in the restorative justice movement, particularly in the creation of restorative youth diversion programs in the Bay Area, which have become models for restorative youth diversion programs throughout California and nationwide. The first of these programs—Restorative Community Conferencing (RCC) juvenile diversion program in Alameda County, CA—currently keeps up to 100 youth out of the juvenile justice system each year. Data collected from over 100 young people who participated in RCC revealed substantial decreases in recidivism rates and costs for youth going through the RCC programs. Survivors have consistently reported very high rates of satisfaction with the program. This landmark set of data has led to the implementation of similar RCC programs in ten cities nationwide.

Sujatha's work of centering crime survivors’ identified needs while simultaneously reducing the role of punishment and disproportionate racial and ethnic contact in our justice processes extends far beyond her diversion work in the Bay Area. She has been nationally-recognized as a leading voice both in restorative justice and in the crime survivors’ movement, and has sought to utilize the approach of restorative justice in ending child sexual abuse and intimate partner violence as well. She brings her personal story of forgiveness as a survivor to bear in every group, and invites others to "bring conflict first to the source with love."

2015 Recipient

Janice Jerome

Executive Director

Restorative Justice Institute of Atlanta, LLC

Janice Jerome receives the Leadership Award with her Colleagues

Janice Jerome demonstrates the type of leadership that draws people from the community to Restorative Justice work. Through her leadership she is able to help them address community problems using dialogue driven practices rooted in the values and principles of restorative and community justice.

Her work is through the Restorative Justice Institute of Atlanta as well as her church which supports and promotes her community organizing efforts. These efforts have made a difference in the lives of many people as well as the communities in which they live and work. In these ways she has helped members of her community understand and respond to harms and conflicts in constructive ways that are effective while also promoting peace, understanding, reparation and accountabilty.

She is a consummate leader with a vision of a more constructive future which she is able to convey and motivate others to work toward. She uses a dialogue driven personal style that is respectful, considerate, informed, and open. As a result, Janice is able to motivate others to give their best efforts as they work together to develop and execute plans for a more just, livable, and safe community. She has wisdom beyond her years. This wisdome is combined with a strong work ethic and personal diligence. She seems tireless and able to do the work of several people with love, dignity, respect and integrity. She is a living model of effective leadership within the community and restorative justice movement.

As a side note, Janice Jerome received two nominations for the Leadership Award independent of one anothers. This is unusual and noteworthy in itself.

2011 Recipient

Janet Conner

Restorative Justice Educator, Victim Advocate and Peace Activist, Boston, MA.

NACRJ Youth Poet PerformingYouth Poet Performing