This Restorative Justice Life

67. Trailblazing: The Fire Within Restorative Justice w/ Janice Jerome

February 17, 2022 David Ryan Castro-Harris Season 2 Episode 11
This Restorative Justice Life
67. Trailblazing: The Fire Within Restorative Justice w/ Janice Jerome
Show Notes Transcript

Janice Jerome is the recipient of many awards, including the 2015 Community and Leadership Restorative Justice award from the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice (NACRJ), the Romae Powell award, and the Director's Award of the Juvenile Courts Association of Georgia. Ms. Jerome is the founder of The Restorative Justice Institute of Atlanta, LLC. This organization is dedicated to keeping "justice moving" by inspiring all to examine how to "say hard things in a good way." She received her training from Kay Pranis and Gwen Rivers Jones in 2004.

You will meet Janice (0:55) and hear about how she got started in this work (6:25). Janice shares her experience in public administration and criminal justice (14:00). Additionally, she shares about how she brings restorative justice into her home (32:00) and where she is now (38:40). Finally, she discusses community policing (47:02) and she answers the closing questions.

Contact, Learn More, Support Janice:
Website: https://justicemovingtoday.com/ 
Email: justicemovingtoday@gmail.com

Watch clips of the podcast: http://youtube.com/c/amplifyrj
Follow us on TikTok: https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMRAQd2VM/

See all our workshops and courses at http://amplifyrj.com/learn
Future Ancestor Collective (Community Gatherings): http://tiny.cc/ARJcommunity
Rep Amplify RJ Gear at http://amplifyrj.threadless.com 

You can connect with Amplify RJ:
Email list: http://tiny.cc/ARJemail
Instagram: http://instagram.com/amplify.rj
LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/restorative-justice
Facebook: http://facebook.com/amplifyrj
Twitter: http://twitter.com/amplifyrj
Website: http://amplifyrj.com
Reading list: http://amplifyrj.com/reading-list

David (he/him):

Janice, welcome to this restorative justice life. Who are you?

Janice Jerome:

Wow, thank you so much, David. Love that question. I should ask that everyday to myself fine. Janice Jerome, born and raised in Atlanta family has over 200 years of living in the Atlanta area since 19. Excuse me, 1858. Both my parents were rather political. And so six kids in a house with them that made eight. Mother did a lot of neighborhood community meetings, and my father did a lot of reading and advising about activities. So yeah, that's who I am from a little girl standpoint, but from a big girl standpoint, I'm a mother of three. Yeah, so let's just say little girl, pardon me.

David (he/him):

Who are you?

Janice Jerome:

And I like to write but I don't consider myself a writer. And I loved interviewing seniors. I started this when my grandmother turned 100. Somewhere in the early 2000s, I realized, Wow, I'm so hungry. I should interview her. And so along the way, I have interviewed so many singers, it's one of my first loves. And through those interviews, I have produced it. books or pamphlets. My latest interview is online at Amazon. Oh, bless from the beginning. So I'm kinda sorta a writer, but not a writer, because it's more like a hobby.

David (he/him):

Who are you?

Janice Jerome:

Oh, career wise. I've worked in the court system background, most of my career, and the government worked with the United States Department of Justice, immigration court in Atlanta and Miami, with the juvenile court. In Clayton County, Georgia, where I started and restorative. I am an ordained minister, professional genealogists certified anger management specialist to justice mediator and did a little work in pathology, but I wouldn't do it at that job. So I won't go back in any medical facility.

David (he/him):

Who are you?

Janice Jerome:

Well, education wise. Right now I'm in my fourth year working on my PhD. Tirth now is really tough. Computer science was undergrad. My masters in public administration. Yeah, that's what it looks like education wise.

David (he/him):

Got three more. Who are you?

Janice Jerome:

I spent many years as an activist in the community campaign. Neighborhood Watch Boys and Girls Club. Yeah, that's some of my hobbies. I collect coins. So I collect money for money only though. And so my oldest coin is over 300 years old. That quite a few coins over 100 years old. I got money from regimes long gone from the Congo to oh, all cross the globe. So when I get stressed, and I want to relax, I go get that money collection. And I enjoy every minute of it.

David (he/him):

Who are you?

Janice Jerome:

Oh, yeah, we got slimming down what I didn't talk about. I'm I'm a friend. I'm a friend. If you meet me, David, unfortunately, you've met me. And so we're friends for life. We don't do not ever friendship. So I leave that right there. I'm a friend, and I'm afraid for life.

David (he/him):

And lastly, finally for now, who are you?

Janice Jerome:

I am a seasoned senior citizen. And I've got about a year and a half before retirement. And so retirement includes a small house, a lot of land, a cow, a goat, two dogs, and a horse. That's what retirement looks like for me.

David (he/him):

Again, Janice, thank you so much for being here with us. It's always good to start with a check in so to the fullest extent that you want to answer the question. How are you?

Janice Jerome:

Feeling? I'm going to just lead into what I just said lead back into I'm feeling very seasoned and feeling that my experience these things I've done and the time and things I've learned have seasoned me what this moment like it's been a wonderful journey. And what I'm really liking is the energy of the young people and feel like they're bringing in are coming in and say, extra spice. And so I want a little bit of spice. So I'm feeling very seasoned.

David (he/him):

Hmm. Yeah, you know, you've talked about doing this work for years, on years, decades, you've been doing this work for a long time as well in lots of different settings. But I think that you had some inklings of doing this work even before you knew the words restorative justice. So in your own words, how did this get started for you?

Janice Jerome:

It started...Well restorative to me has been around since man has had DNA. So is not new, is just been hadn't given a particular name. And so I started in the court system. But I really believed it because it's a values driven process. I can speak for other people, but I was brought in from growing up in the values that were set into. So it's been there all my life. But the

David (he/him):

What did that look like growing up?

Janice Jerome:

What that looked like, it looked like literally stuff I put in my book, Mom and Dad did a lot of arguing and fighting, oh my god, the worst of the worst. However, they show so much love to us as kids. It's amazing how two people can love their kids and carry on as if they don't care about each other. And so that's what it looked like, I never saw love between a man and a woman. As partners, I noticed some support systems between a man and a woman because my parents didn't support each other. And so for me, it cannot turn out the opposite. So ones in my life will be supporting them. Someone's in my life. I'm telling them, I love them. This kind of way, it turned out the things that I didn't like.

David (he/him):

Yeah

Janice Jerome:

Yeah, I had a little paradigm shift in how I will live my life. And so I refuse in my marriage to live in a like a house. I mean, inside will not will not do that as an adult.

David (he/him):

Yeah. Like, you know, you said in the Who are you is that you are a writer, although you don't fully claim that. But here you are referencing your book. One of the reasons that we're having this conversation is you did contribute a chapter to the anthology Colorizing Restorative Justice, and you did talk a lot about your experiences growing up. I'm curious, and the title of your chapter is about, you know, Going Home, right? You grew up in Atlanta, moved away, and ended up going back to do work there. We're gonna detail some of that journey, a little bit. But I'm curious if you would be willing to share some of those things that were formative and help shaping you, you talked a little bit about the conflict. But you also in the book talked about, you know, the community and what it was like growing up in that space.

Janice Jerome:

As kids, we cleaned up the yards that had trash on them, and nobody lived there or end of the street. We were involved into that. But this happened. After I got a little older, I started to understand the importance of community. And in my chapter, I talked about the black policeman who brought in something almost one of the most magical, when they were about to arrest my mother was really not a risk. They wanted to take her to the hospital, to the mental ward. And they said they would have to take it out in a straight jacket. Because she was acting out pretty bad. Screaming, yelling, she didn't curse, but she was cursing that day. And it hurt me to my heart to know that my mother would come out of this house and straight jacking. And when I looked outside the house window, tears rolling down my eyes. They can't take my mom out like this. And so there were six black policemen who were there, and the ambulance drivers were black. And everybody outside the house who live in community were black. And so my mother had been there about 54 years. And the policeman just started to saying, I will trust in the Lord until I die. Which is one of my mother favorite song. That was one magic. He didn't know that. And as the song that calmed her come lately, to the most peace Oh, precious person, you could imagine, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. And I touched her hand. And I said, Mom, let's go. And Cisco, well, we're going outside. This is okay, let me get, let me get my purse. And I held her hand. And as we open up the door, the whole community was standing there, like they were the Queen's court and the Queen was coming out to do they show so much respect. And the vibes that came from the crowd, I could feel it so deeply as I slowly lettered down the scope. And as that one police officer continued to sing, and the other police officers, they just stood there and respect to they didn't is like, we always on one accord in understanding the community that you're working in, and those in the community, so we made it out to the car. With him singing, we made it our way, I had to drive in another car behind them, but he can't stay with her. And then we made it down to the medical facility kept singing. And then once we got on the elevator, and got her on a stretcher. And he stopped in her mind flew right back into that aggressive moment of her, you know, mental break. It was just an amazing feat to see what had happened in that. And I don't cry a lot. I don't like to cry, especially in public, I ain't cry. But man that broke me down. You know, that's my mama. My mama was honored at a moment. People could have created harm in her life. You know, there's just so much respect that came out of that community. Yeah.

David (he/him):

You know, we live in a time where we don't necessarily get these stories about police in communities. Doing good, right, or taking gentle, respectful ways. And I think, you know, the, it's a testament to the strength of the relationships in that community, the strength of your parents work, your mom's work specifically right? To where you know, someone is going to see her a black woman who is going through a mental health crisis as a person who is worthy of respect, love, dignity, kindness, and all those things and not relying on punishment and violence to quote unquote, control. Right. And, you know, that's not always the case, when it comes to policing in the criminal legal system at all. You've done a lot of work within the context of the criminal legal system. I'm curious, what inspired you to get involved with that system and those ways?

Janice Jerome:

Anyway, I was computer science, and I majored in it because my mama told me to, so I grew up in that era, whatever they told you to go, yes. And so I said, okay, my mom, she said, mentioned computers, that's to teach. Okay. And I did exactly what he said, get out and hated computer science, if you had a job and computer and computer company and my hair was falling out. And I would just mean, and it wasn't for me. And so I started to think about what do I really want to be what I want to do. Now I can choose from myself and I thought I wanted to be a lawyer. But when I said, Let's go to paralegal school, such certification, I get that. I can't be telling how to last for people. So I started thinking the lawyers list. Whereas No, that's not for me. So one day, I was in the brand new at the time, Federal Building in Atlanta, I think it's called the sound known building, huge building. And I saw a sign in his said, Troy state university or Troy University, and classes coming up for master program. And one of them was an MBA. Okay, the next one said MPa, and I knew right then, yeah, but that's fun. It was right then it wasn't like, Let me think about it. I knew and when I read the description, I was so sad. I was so happy. I had a husband and threw in three kids and oh, God, a full time job, all kinds of things going on, but I was getting ready to sign up and pay my money and to get my Master's so they got me into public administration even more. And that helped me in the legal system, court systems. And so things are start falling that way. It took a while I was over 30 something by the time It happened, hoping nobody has had to wait that long. But I was about 35. Before I knew, aha, that's for me. So it was a feeling that always been there.

David (he/him):

Yeah. And what did your work look like after? Well, one, I want to rewind just a couple of seconds. And, you know, at any age is a time when you can figure out that thing. What's next? If you're feeling stuck in a situation where you're pulling your hair out, and cancer, I know, there are many people right now who are in work situations that they feel are really toxic. And I've done it. Janice has told us at times that she does that it like it's okay to leave and like go find that next thing. You found that next thing public administration, and that led you to...

Janice Jerome:

I'm working on me, I'm still in that field of working. Yeah. And I ended up working for the juvenile justice system after the immigration court. And mainly because the juvenile justice system wanted to bring me in on a higher level and management. I forget all the reasons why but they were very attractive to me. So I decided to go to the juvenile justice system. And that's where I met restorative justice. But remember, restorative has always been around, it didn't just show up. That day in the juvenile court, and then it got validated that this is for me. So that ended me there. And that's where BP Corporation came in. And they gave me a charge card. They said build this program, like, give me a card. I don't even know what to do. And so we started training our staffs. And we just started a lot of stuff, David, we started newsletters and lunch reading on restorative. And I'm like that just it just goes on and on. I created a library in my office where you can check out books and restore to books. It just kept building, I created and designed a program called Project HEAL, which means HIV healing it before prison, there was a restore to process. It is still in existence today, that diversion program in the court system in juvenile system, and I collaborated with the Sheriff Department and think the police department can't remember all my collaborators, but everybody was just so anxious to be part of a new flavor of how to deal with our kids, when they get in trouble. It was just so much energy. But I think day with the key to the energy is the person who's kind of story of this is not a good way of saying it and restore to kind of sort of the key person in an organization that is driving it. And so I was on files, but if I walk past you you go and burn to restore it. It was I mean, I was like seeing like a beat. I don't know whatever Muhammad Ali said, He's saying get into bed tonight the like before get done that way I was I was just whoo. And the beautiful thing about it. The real answer that led me to a lot of work in Georgia, several awards from the juvenile councils here in Georgia two years in a row. And mostly it was linked it to my work in restorative justice.

David (he/him):

Yeah.

Janice Jerome:

How many players on board?

David (he/him):

You know, you said that the framework of restorative justice was introduced to you in that juvenile court. Can you tell me a little bit about that experience and what clicked for you?

Janice Jerome:

Okay, the time exactly what it looked like when I was introduced. I was called to your office by the judge. And the judge said, Janice, I want you to read this book. And I want you to train your people. That's what he said on it. And

David (he/him):

remember the book? Oh, yeah.

Janice Jerome:

Yeah. Peacemaking Circles, round to the community. Kay Pranis. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Have you read that one? Yeah, but I love that one. So I read it. Verse. And I hadn't set up training yet. It was like a month later, because they had to get us on University and BP and just a lot of organizations to put the training together. And in the meanwhile, the Twain that a friend of mine lost her son to a car accident. And he died. So I flew to Miami. I had my book with me. And I was everybody was crying mom, dad, grandparents is about so sad after. And then I thought that morning, I wonder if they'll be okay if I do like a circle. Now, mine I hadn't been training yet. This would Kay laughs about all the time. And so I talked to the grandmother first I did without basically preparation. I asked her how she feel, how would you think the family feels? She said yes, yes. I asked the father. Yes, yes. This is early in the morning, I asked the mother. Yes, yes, then the daughter. And so everybody was just totally on board. And so we sat in a circle in the middle of the living room. And we went forward with a restore to process. And it was my first time and it was just beautiful for me. And so when I returned to Georgia, we started trainings and Kay Pranis came down and Glen to train me. And cages lashes, this, she's already done a circle. And so that just kind of led to, um, after training, but doing training, I broke down really bad David, remember, I don't like to cry. That first trend. I don't remember all that went through my mind and heart. But what I do know, one of my great friends touched me on my shoulder. And he said to me, Janice, are you alright? And it looks like I had been in a trance or something. Because I came back to the room. And it had been crying and crying, not realizing it. And so I was just so it was for me, David, it was for me, personally, it was for me. And so I started training, training training training from their trainee trainee train.

David (he/him):

Yeah. Well, again, thank you for sharing a one shout out to that judge for recommending that book. Also shout out to you, I love what you talked about, you know, like immediately applying what you learn a lot of times people come into trainings or reading in like, I don't know, if I can do this, like, if I don't do this perfectly, like I'm not going to try, right? You took a lot of care and precautions to make sure that the folks in your space were prepared, right? Like you talked about to be in that space. And we're consenting to be in that kind of circle space. But you know, the fact that you tried, you know, without quote unquote training, formally is really a beautiful thing. Like and like you said it. For some people, it's just for them, I think about, you know, some of my first experiences with circle. And in many ways, yeah, being being hooked, I didn't break down and cry. But, um, you know, those, those things are real and valid. And I'm, I'm just grateful for, for that story. And then from there, right? You train your team, you build out programs, what were some of the the key learnings from that time and doing all of that work?

Janice Jerome:

Well, um, one thing, and very talked about is being on fire. So, I believe if you go to a restorative training, and it's for you, it shouldn't be a secret that nobody knows. You know, if something is burning in you to do it, there should be some kind of light that comes on. So for me, the light came on. Secondly, some of the learnings were everyone trying, they're not necessarily facilitators, if I find very few people who get trained, who actually move forward to facilitation, so for me to let others know that there's so much to do on restorative, it qualifies you for a practitioner. You don't have to facilitate. I have a secretary who did the newsletter. She still was a restorative justice practitioner. People do blogs, there's so many things. Some people do networking. Some people do data collection, there's just so many things I learned at that time is beyond facilitating. Also, I learned that when I work on myself, somehow that goes off and become contagious. So the more I worked on myself as a practitioner, the more I saw those around me change my office, actually, I would call maybe eight people in my office to have a meeting. They would pray themselves in a circle, I didn't ask them to get a No sir vote. And then they will honor each other, we didn't even have a talking piece at the time, because that's not what I was doing. I'm just having a meeting, they would just act like they had an invisible talking piece, and just pass it from one person to the next question. And I didn't ask anybody to do any of that. But what I realized is, when you want to fight, you, you can make a difference. Without purposely trying to tell someone, this, this is for you just work on yourself. So that was the learning curve to continue to work on myself. I'm also to learn how to speak at home and act at home based on the principles that I believed in. And so I had to have a paradigm shift. And working with my family, that was a learning curve.

David (he/him):

It's one thing we talk a lot on this podcast about, you know, it's one thing to talk about the quote unquote, practices of restorative justice in a criminal legal environment in a school environment. Can you ask the questions? Can you sit in a circle? Can you hold that space? But this is not just about a process, right? This is about a way of being in the lifestyle? What were some of the challenges at home?

Janice Jerome:

I can just do like you do tip toe back a little bit. Yeah. I just learned, maybe last year, I had been told since I've been in this work. First I told you it was a tube. Then I realized on my own, this is not a tool, a tool is something you use take out, you use it and then you put it back. So restorative is number two. And then I was told it was a process for years up until last year, when one Native American says this is not a process. I was like, wait a minute now. This is a process we've been in, and he broke it down. Back to this way your life is how you live. It's how you live is not labeled, how you live. And so I'm learning to move away from the belief that this is a way of life more than a process for moving forward on challenges at home and learning to talk to the kids. Ask them a question. And once they answer it, I learned how to say thank you. I didn't give them extra advice. I didn't touch the words. I didn't try to convince them I learned to every time I talk to them, when they finish talking, say that's a discipline in this group. It's very difficult. And I'm working on my PhD. So I've learned I'm saying that sometimes the more education you get, the harder it gets to just be quiet. You know, and so that was one of the ones another one who's actually bringing it to the kids. And so my son was having some difficulties in school. So I took them out to a restaurant to eat. And I brought a little blue ball. And I said, Now we're going to talk about a few things, okay. And we're going to use this ball. And so when I'm holding it, I can speak and when you hold it, you can speak okay? He said, Okay, and so as I must die first. And so I started speaking live when I finished, I handed him the ball. And his first sentence was you held the ball too long. So, yeah, just introducing the ideals very gently to the kids, very gently. I ended up doing a lot of circle work at their schools. My daughter said one day she heard somebody on the microphone, I guess in the office saying something about peacemaking circles. She said, Yes, my mama, I noticed my mom and nobody is doing and we stood to justice and peacemaking circles. So she came to us, I know you was at school, because they see something about peacemaking circles as a year I was there. It's been interesting with the fam, and it still leaves. I finally had a family circle. It took a long time, but I didn't conduct it. And I did not lead it. I was a participant, and they had one of the young people, well, he was an adult to lead. Let's take that route out, facilitate the circle. And you know, I heard a lot from the keys without asking a question and just listening to them. And that was important to hear them.

David (he/him):

I mean, definitely the practice of listening is so key to all of this work, right, making sure that you know, we're not just listening and hearing words but being responsive to needs It can go a long way. You know, you talked about this being a part of your home life, this being a part of your work life, your award winning work life, your academic life as well. You know, circling back a little bit to the chapter, you talked a lot about what it meant to bring this work back home back home to the neighborhood of Pittsburgh. What was that experience like for you? And why was it important for you to do that feature, David, here for clarity, we're talking about the neighborhood of Pittsburgh in Atlanta, not Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Okay, back to Janice,

Janice Jerome:

That was a wow moment in my life. I mean, I'm living in Atlanta and raising my family and marriage working. And I will not go to that part of town under no condition ever, ever. And so to get a call, years later, down the road, I was in Texas, then to come do a circle for an organization. I was fine. You know, it's okay. They want to do healing circles. Okay. And I think I did it three different times. But the first time she gave me the address was I didn't recognize the address. And so I have prepared everything, my facilitator who's working with me, you know, all my supplies, my materials, I got the address, and let me show up the first day. That first day I showed up, my car went to a, it was used to be a school. And but they still had a big auditorium. And this now it's lost. So when I got there, now I knew I was in Pittsburgh, my parents, I want to where is it, this bird? And I got there. And then when I got into this, when it hit me, this is where I used to come as a little girl at school, this bigger auditorium in Pittsburgh, and I started to feel some kind of a weight, you know, like, emotionally moved. And as I said, in the circles and began, the people there were like, they had nothing to do with that word. And my shame. They were like, my family in the circle. And I could imagine some of them being related to me, because my family did have members, you know, different members. And I thought they could be my family. Or they could know my mom, okay. And I sat there, and I tried to keep my composure. But I had to allow myself to process so I process and I let them know what my story was. And I was holding him back to tears oh I was holding strong. I think one drop though, I pinned it. It was just so moving to be in the space that I've been running from, for what reason? What reason, change, for work. It's also amazing moment, David, to realize where I really was at that moment. And each day that I came back, it just like, it became a miracle day miracle training. One of the most precious moments in my life. Totally, one of the most precious moments to see the beauty, the beauty shine from the people. And you know, and the community too. But for people that I was with, they were mean, they were me. They were me. And so it was an amazing moment. It really was.

David (he/him):

Yeah, so much of this is like restorative justice is about you know, yes, this process, yes, this way of being but this way of being fueled by like, we are reflections of each other, we are connected. You know, taking this work back to the place where you experienced a lot of community, a lot of joy, but also a lot of struggle and harm. How were you restored in that?

Janice Jerome:

Um, I don't you know, that's a very difficult question. It's almost like you have to rephrase it a different way. For me. I don't know if it's the word restored. Or maybe the word that I'm very careful with healing took place. Which might be simultaneously but I would rather say that.

David (he/him):

So yes, we can say healing. Yeah,

Janice Jerome:

for me, they just kind of works with and that barely really used that word to, because I'm careful that it is real healing, you know, not just a fly by moment. And so I think I know that no such thing I know. tears began to roll down my eyes because I thought about how come Mom and Daddy never talked about this never. My three younger brothers and sisters have no clue that any could only be about maybe five, six miles, seven miles from where my parents bought the home that we grew up in, wasn't that far, you know, at all. And so one time I did go by there and look at the house that we lived in. But since they have torn it down with torn it down. Yeah, so I think, some healing and the key to that, David is the root fear. You see fear aint real to me, but danger is, here's something that I put in my mind, this is going to happen, Oh, I hear somebody in the house. Oh, you know, just all this stuff, building up. But it ain't real. And so all that I did all those years, it wasn't even real. I ran that through my head. Okay. There was no danger going on for me to go by there. There was no danger for me to talk to older family members who knew I grew up there. You know, it was just fear. And that thing ain't real. At all.

David (he/him):

Do you think you would have gone if you would recognize the address?

Janice Jerome:

Never had that thought in my mind that question. And didn't come to my mind? And I have no answer. I'm just glad it the miracle happened the way it you know, intersection of being in the right time, the right moment, and the right pace, you know,

David (he/him):

oh, that's that's really real. You know, you've continued to do this work, both criminal legal system, little bit in education? What is the work that you are up to? Now with restorative justice?

Janice Jerome:

Well, let me just say, this, David, that I do store to every thing that can exist on this earth, I don't just do it in the legal systems or use, you know, in the reason why the principles don't change, David, based on your race, based on your career, based on your age, based on anything, it doesn't change at all. And so that's one reason why I think when I get my first one at the panel, I realized that this process doesn't change. It's just the, when I say, process, let me fix that route. The principles of how to be with each other. The core of every one is good, wise and powerful. And it will be if you're born with it, and it will be there. And you'll die with is just a matter of you reaching to use it, and to know that there are no throw away. And no one should be held. Nothing should be held against a person from life. So all the principles, everybody wants to be in a good relationship, everybody want to be loved, you know, all those principles just rose for me when I am participating in the verse or collaborating right now. There's a couple of things that are always ongoing. I'm always ongoing during the pre trial workshops for Atlanta, those 10th year of collaborating where our PI a produces. We have created a script for compulsive sexual behavior, for anger management, for parenting, and fifth. And so and I have contract facilitators to help me out. And so each one of them are done rescheduled out a year. And so, like next year, we'll have already had the schedule by the end of this year. And yeah, the workshops are always seem like something different that the people who have never been part of who were ordered to audit or referred to the workshops are right now they've been virtual for the last couple of years. But we did a mean person in the beginning for many, many, many, many years. And in person, we would have about 50 people in the courtroom. And the reason why we did in the courtroom because they didn't have a boom, big enough to hold 50 People at the courthouse. And so we would have a sheriff baler and the sheriff bailiff would be there with his gun. I didn't like that presence of the sheriff bailiff. The intimidation and some steel bales will say now if I'm gonna have to throw somebody out, I'm gonna throw you out. Because I oh my god, I couldn't be quiet. We enjoyed people out. And the most funniest I'm gonna say the funniest thing that I had. Because I did have contract was when we were just into using the talking piece. And if you want to speak, you know, just hold your hand up, and I'll bring you the talking piece. And it was going well, and also, that was a change. The bailiff, share the bailiff heels. He's saying, Okay, I haven't talked. Oh, my God, this is beautiful. So I don't know what the real, I think some of the things that we're doing, but that's been ongoing for a while, I'm still doing the certification for certified anger management specialist. Utilizing restoreative principles, I am certified by namah. Namah is respected and recognized by many of the judges in the United States and over 126 countries. So it's a big certification. So I still do the certification and anger certifications are stored to justice practitioner. And the reason why I do that, because in the beginning, they didn't want to certify people, because they didn't want to block out people who didn't have certain levels of degrees or things like that anyone should be able to be a keeper. And so I started certifying, because when you're dealing with some organizations and some school systems, they got to have a piece of paper that the person was trained, you know, everyone has to have a certification. And so I felt like if I didn't certify someone else would move in and not give them the best that I believe I tried to deliver the best. So those are a couple of things.

David (he/him):

I want to touch on that piece just for a second, right? Where I struggle with that too. Because, you know, a piece of paper says that you sat through a class, right? It's not a reflection necessarily on what you do out in the world. Right. And so, you know, I hope when people come into amplify RJ spaces, and they learn, they're not just like, hey, I'm here on Zoom, listening, or I'm here watching the recordings later. And like, Alright, I know restorative justice, and I'm going to go out and do these things without having done the, the, like you talked about like the work inside, right, just doing the process without having done the work inside. And that's something that I, I still haven't figured out how to navigate like the quote unquote, certification, like I had certify you to do anything, I hope you had a transformational experience. And now you're able to move out into the world knowing a couple different things. But you know, these institutions that we work with, sometimes just want that, want that thing with a signature like you're done, did it.

Janice Jerome:

I put my I put so much energy into my trainings. Because if I'm going to certify you, I'm going to be sure that I've given the best that I could, and with recommendations how to continue your own learning experience.

David (he/him):

Yeah, you mentioned since this is airing in February, you mentioned that you have a training coming up in April, you want to talk a little bit about what's happening there.

Janice Jerome:

Yes, in April, I'll be having the CAMScertification. And that's anger management, anger management specialist. However, mines is utilizing restorative principles. So you can get certified but haven't found many that will use this stuck to customers and practices to it. It's a five day training. And all the information is on the web site about the training. One thing about being certified as anger management specialist, it is one of those certifications. Once you get certified, you're certified for life. You don't have to go back and be you know, there's no expiration on the certification. And so I put a lot of deep energy into that. I found David that many people that get certified. They hadn't figured out how they really want to use restoretive and so I don't see a lot. Well, I don't know of a lot just running into, you know, to the field. Most are really taking their time and sometimes come back and have conversations with me. You know about their growth in the room. But that one is April the 21st through the 24th Yeah, that's April 21 through the 24th. It might be to try here. It's supposed to be five days 12345 April 21, through the 25th.

David (he/him):

And we'll have links to that, where people can find out more information. In the show notes. We're about to transition into the questions that everybody answers when they come on to this podcast. But is there anything else that you want to share? Before we get there?

Janice Jerome:

Yeah, I kind of want to say something, just piggyback on something that I think is so and I might have already said it, so forgive me. But, you know, I received the 2015 award by national future David

David (he/him):

one more time, when she says national, we're talking about the National Association of Community and restorative justice, and NCRJ. We've previously talked about the conference that's coming up in July of this year. So if you want more information about that, you can check out the show notes. All right, back to Janice again.

Janice Jerome:

And that was the year, David, I was laid off by a government agency. And so that put me into a unemployment situation where the money's not that good. And so I ended up having to find somewhere else to live. And I went to this community, and it was so beautiful, beautiful grass, cut and quiet. And I was like, on the spot, I'm gonna get I'm gonna get displaced by 50 homes. And so the landlord met me and we went through everything, and I paid everything and boom, there it is. About a week later, someone told me that, oh, you live over there. We've been shooting and killing people know what you're talking about? Killing me? No. And then I begin to hear about all the robberies and all the drug dealing and I moved into community that I really didn't do my homework. So now I'm a little shaken. And I knew that I had something to offer. But I didn't want to be known. I didn't know what nobody knew I was there. I don't want to know, work and don't do anything, but just come home and chill. And so one neighbor told me at the mailbox that she had been broken in three times. I said, Wow. And then she said to me, David, she says, I don't trust nobody. And that means me, David. And so that's when I decided I would do some circles in the community. Because I felt like I could be next. And so we did all the preparation and everything. We did all the collaboration, commissioners and Cher, and police and the community came out. David they came out the community showed up and we got an A big circuit, I got a big stick of tree and I explained the state I explained values. We did some trust building, then we moved into the real reason why we hear that community. They honored those values. And we came to some consensus decision making and do you know, I'm gonna just go forward, fast forward, a year and a half. That community turned around David, it ain't no more burglaries. People were walking their dogs, people were jogging. Okay, people are not afraid of each other. It turned around so few people wrote national or somebody and they don't ever tell you to do it. And they talk about something that I think is important that that I don't hear a lot of conversations about David. And that is working in the community that you live in. And not just coming over there helping people out and then go back to your quiet, beautiful community. That that was a very, all kind of scary moment. Putting myself out there in the community. And I had a little some negativity coming back at me. But we ended up arrest de risking the drug deal in the community. Wow, David, things just started to turn over and I just talked to the landlord. We stay in touch things and he said, I've got a waiting list. It's like a paradise resort now. Yet people want to move in. Do you believe that? So I just wanted to touch on that. Because that's what I don't hear much working in those communities that need maybe some processing and live in there too. That's a big job. With that. Let's go to them to go to the questions.

David (he/him):

Oh, no, you can't you can't just share that and, and, and expect me to not follow up two things. One, like, you know, you fast forwarded a year and a half to where like things are all good. Like, the process isn't that fast? Right? The process of building trust isn't that fast. So what were some of the other things that you had going on? It wasn't just once it wasn't just because of one circle?

Janice Jerome:

No, we didn't work that we did many circles. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So we did many circles. We built a community watch and never had a them to watch the meeting in that community. Their houses were built in the late 70s. I believe the police recognize us as a neighborhood watch. They increased their patrol over our neighborhood. We were invited to many meetings about things coming up. So if we didn't have those connections, then a lot of things and oh, I know what I left out. Every circle we had, ooh, we had to grill out. Okay. So the smoke was bringing me in, okay. Saturday morning at 12 noon, that smoke started firing up. So that was a beautiful connection. Just they know, you know, we've got a real goal we wanted to meet. And then we also had children that became little we aren't dumb as little deputies. And if they see something to go report it to their parents. And so we honor kids with little, we gave them a little back. The police had some badges or the chair. They gave them the badges and they were so proud of their badge. So many things came out it would take the whole, you know, whole next day or two to tell you everything. But yeah, it was a process of building. But I saw it until that day, I saw somebody jogging and walking their dog. And then I've called the police and burglaries you know, this a nun had been reported. Now, it went from a billion to 01 of the landlords so beautifully. He owned the 40 or 50. I mean, it was 50 houses he owned about 40. He, I asked him, why won't you put burglar bars on our Windows? You know how the burglars are getting in? He's well, you know, insurance purposes. You know, my insurance that's like your insurance over our safety. I said, Did that make sense to me? And do you know I went to work when I came back. His truck was loaded with burglar bars. And he put them on if we baddies? Did you hear me? I was like, wow, I must have had that fire going at that moment. But he put him on episode, a lot of things transpired during that timeframe.

David (he/him):

Yeah, what the reason why I was like, no, no, we're not moving right past this is there's a there's a balance. Right? You talked about the very earlier on, you talked about like this positive experience that you had with policing, right? And many people who are listening to this and I find myself as one of them or people who think about like the abolition of policing. And so like you got to this vision of community safety, where involved more police and involved in the results are, you know, no more burglaries in a little bit more increased trust for people who think about like the abolition of police, right? How do we, like take care of the people who are causing harm to the community? How do we address that harm, without necessarily involving the police?

Janice Jerome:

You know, that's a whole nother piece of the pie. A higher level of the pie if I can say that, um, one thing that was identified first was that the landlords were the reason why the community was that way, because they were allowing anyone in and so they vowed to screen applicants much better. And that was a bit of a mum because some of the landlords they I don't know why they there was some background of conflict or something. You know, I don't know, there was some stuff going on between landlords, but they came together. It was like the people who live there. They read the problem, but they weren't. Which means problem was, you know, if you allow it to fester, it will fester. One of the biggest thing is a 17 year old or six year old boy was And it was a beautiful moment because it caused so much strife, especially for older people. But for those like him who's committing the crimes. The system is still dealing with them the way they are. Punishment. It will be beautiful. A beautiful it would the gang leader of the drug distribution, and the burglars. be a beautiful world. If the system would recognize it ain't working the way they're pretending like is working with the offenders. Case by case, all I can say is, you know, they didn't bring us in as victims only we got him. That's all communication, we get restitution, they they normally did sentencing. You know, it was very rare. And I don't know why that happens without a lot of sensing versus restitution. She And so the night that they arrested him, somebody called me got broken three times they took stuff, they broke a door. I remember that one of the nice they did she pay already put in alarm system in our house. Do you know it took 45 minutes for the police? This was before the circles to get to our house. Do you know those big at all? They want it alone, though, after 45, because the response time was like that. It's like, Oh, somebody's stealing, you know, we'll get there when we get there. And so that was a sad said they get on father's name. Well, they said, I didn't want moment to know that it took them 45 minutes to show and the offenders are happy somewhere, you know, around down? And I don't know, right now, what's happening, David. But I do know, generally what the system is still doing with offenders, you know, given them time, this only one diversion classes, classes. I instruct some people, pre they haven't been to court, some people have already been to jail or prison and put a request. On these are the offenders. I don't know if the classes is the best thing. But it appears when I always do at the end of each to grab. I ran out with my high school and my house you just to class. I always ask them, Is there anything that stood out? And things that they say like the native principles? Or the effective question would have, what did you do? What are we thinking about at the time? Who was affected by what you did? And in what way? And what do you think needs to happen to make things better? They like those questions. You know, I just listened to the things they like. So on the fender side, it's still I think it's still a home, but it's happening trying to change the system view. How do we help victims other than see him get a wrist. call him and say, you know, he's in court, and we got him and everything's fine. And if they include jail, they can't do restitute? You know?

David (he/him):

Yeah, I'm thinking about the specifics of this story, right with this young man. 1617 year old, right? People in the community knew who he was right? Yes. What prevented you as a community from approaching him without involving the police.

Janice Jerome:

That's less something what you just said, there is extremely easy to say, when you don't live there. Just me started the neighborhood watch. And I put my phone number on the brochures, created brochures and economic abuse and domestic violence stats that I got from the police that's been happening in our community. And of course, you know, splaying why we're having this blah, blah, blah. And I personally took them to everybody's house. I didn't stick them in their mailbox on their do unless they wouldn't answer. So this was a personal not not, when I went to the house of that particular young boy was no one came to the door. And that's expected, you know, because they know, they don't know you, they're not opening the door. You become an easy target. When you do things like that. And that's just being truthful. And I am human. I was a don't like to use this word, David. I was afraid. I was. I was, I was getting Texas back. That were not nice, you know, for the first meeting, but after the first meeting, I didn't get any negative feedback. But on that first one, I was afraid.

David (he/him):

Yeah, and totally acknowledging that that's something that is much easier to just say, like, Oh, why didn't you do so? And so why don't you do so? And so looking back on the situation now, is there something that you would have done differently or other resources that you would have pulled in differently?

Janice Jerome:

And I always say, there's so many things afterwards, you know, but in the midst of the risk, and the crisis, the real mean comes out. And the real me is, I believe in this process. I'm afraid to initiate it. But I know you're gonna eventually break in my house. What is going to stop there? I live alone, you know, and so, I have the support of the landlords and believe it or not, The community came out, which means they didn't know me. But I had the support of the community by showing up each time, they showed up in good numbers, I have pictures when I'll share them with you one day, took some pictures of some of those meetings, where the policeman was actually facilitating circle two. So it was I smile, because at that moment, I just thought, David, I'm never going to get out of here, hang on getting the money up. I got to get out of him, as I was on how am I gonna lead his community. And the land was very sad. When I left, it appears that way. Because no one had ever stepped up. That way. They were not a neighborhood watch community. We're just a crime community. Totally crap. So I was a little younger. So maybe that's why I stepped up, I don't know. But I do believe in restoring. And, you know, if you believe in stuff that I believe it comes out during controversies and challenges, that's when it comes out who you really are or who I am really, inside. Not when convenience and confidence when that stuff is Ragland shaking. Okay? What comes about to you? And so what came out of me was, I have something I believe in, I believe we can address these issues together as a community. And the first person I asked was the landlord, who owned most houses, how did he feel about it, he supported it, wholeheartedly, dramatically support it, he said, I'll bring the grill out. He's I can get the food if you need he just offered and then other landlords. So it was a community probably on age. And really, you know what I'm saying? It was probably really, and of course, I didn't know that. But they were they were I was really how to ski. It's gonna get me. Yeah, I don't like to me. And we had one lady in the circle that said this, I'll never forget it. The question was, what do you need to feel safe in your house? And she said, Now, in my mind, if I asked you that question, David, I don't know what comes up. You know, if you're living in a community, someone's broken your house. And there's a, like a circle conference where you can speak and they asked you that question, David, what do you need to feel safe in your house? What do you think? Some of the answers people may say? Or you may say, I don't know, you know, dog, and you know, business gogo system, a roommate, you know, just all those examples. But what she said was, she said, I need a barbecue with my neighbors that will make me feel safe. Wow. That's you have to honor what a person says about what you want her neighbors will make her feel safe. And I'm not going to try to psychoanalyze that. But that's what she said. It's amazing. What people need.

David (he/him):

Yeah. What that says to me, right is this idea of feeling safety in relationship with people. Knowing who the other person is, knowing a little bit about their story. And so they're no longer the stranger who you eyes suspiciously when you go walking, get your mail. It's like, oh, no, that's Miss Sally, who, you know, XYZ, that's, that's a Rosa and her daughter and son and her mom who live in her house. That's, that's Tony, who, you know, XYZ. And so when you have those relationships, you can call that person right? That you can call on that person. Yeah, there's there's so much in there of and and I do think like, this is like a whole big, wider conversation. But thank you so much for sharing. I do want to transition to those questions where we ask everyone define restorative justice in your own words.

Janice Jerome:

What was pointed to me is many things that I feel on how to live my life in a good how to address challenges in a good way, in a different way from what I have been conditioned until to do that's a general definition. But I like to reference little circle, little book of circle processes when we talk on how zero I really use their background as a checkoff to remember what is not and what it is. We strive to do is mean to me, I found something that I can call part of my destiny. And my purpose for being here it is guided me or supported a missing link. But it's based on Native Americans principles. And I really want to move toward a lot of principles of my descendants. When we talk about restored, it has changed how I'm honest. And when I try to be honest, in a good way, sometimes on the grid, but it has changed the way I moved to this earth, my PhD is in transformative and social change. And so this what restorative is about is about the transformation that happens inside of me and not me working on people or trying to save the world. And I transform, just being here with you is a transformative moment for

David (he/him):

you as you've been doing this work, what's been Oh, shit moment, or like a moment you've like, made a mistake? Or wish you did something different? And what did you learn from it?

Janice Jerome:

Well, I want to call it an aha moment. When my whole world changing. It was only for me, though, David. And I was doing a circle at UT. And we had about, I don't know, 10 participants in the circle and one little Hispanic guy, very small frame, very low talking. Didn't speak that much. But by the end of the training, he spoke. And what he said was, we were talking about respect. And what he said was, imagine how the world would have been, if everyone would have just respected each other. And for me, that was an aha moment. Like, wow, if everyone would have just respected each other, I would the real healthy. That was for me. I need it. That was for me down there. I've had some more rich moments. One was at Camp Lucy the restorative retreat. I don't know if you're familiar with it. Because I was not able to control my emotions. I was done able to the room was so powerful and rich with stories. I'd always thought I could control my crime. And that was an aha moment. This word has the tears was falling out of my eyes like water from a credit civil raw, flippin injury. injury. So thinking that I got this in circles is so holistic. Never know.

David (he/him):

You get to sit in circle of four people living or dead. Who are they? And what's the question USA, sir?

Janice Jerome:

I have two. Oh, yeah, I had four people I didn't have. The first one was my mommy and daddy. They're just there. They transcend. But I would ask them just to me their life story. That's it. Because I have so many questions merited. The next one be Fannie Lou Hamer Pantages, the way she spoke in 1968, that the one about blacks in the country's trench with the blood of black people. If you're familiar with that, I would ask her in a circle, the other person would be, or people would be the KKK. And think I just go back to tell me your life story. And we had the time, you know, tell us tell us your story. I just want to know, you know, they all may have different backgrounds. And I really want to know, what's your story?

David (he/him):

You're gonna get away with it today. You didn't know this, but sometimes I flip that question back on the guest, but you've already given so much with you know, what is your story? So we'll let you slide on responding to that for now. But I do want to ask what's uh, what's one thing a mantra or affirmation? You want everyone listening to now,

Janice Jerome:

fear is not real but danger is. Fear is not real. Something run through your mind. But danger is real. It's a way for me to be a little bit more courageous in this world.

David (he/him):

Yeah, yeah. Who's one person that I should have on this podcast?

Janice Jerome:

though? I have two people. Sorry. The first person would be anybody over 100 years old, is willing to participate. And the second person will be David Castro Harris.

David (he/him):

What do you mean by that?

Janice Jerome:

You said one person actually have on the podcast, David Castro Harris.

David (he/him):

But I'm on every podcast.

Janice Jerome:

No, you flip in your seat, though.

David (he/him):

Gotcha.

Janice Jerome:

Questions come to you.

David (he/him):

Yeah, that's fair. That's fair.

Janice Jerome:

Hear your voice!

David (he/him):

Do you know, you know, any sanitarians centenarians?

Janice Jerome:

Very close? Very close. But you know, even over 90, that's good. You know, we can put you back.

David (he/him):

I've got somebody in mind for over 90. And I think I can get her I think I can get her to login, at least like from her iPad, that would be great. And then finally, how and where can people support you in your work in the ways that you want to be supported?

Janice Jerome:

Both on the website, or email, and the website is justice moving today, one word, Justicemovingtoday.com. Or you can email us at Justicemovingtoday@gmail.com.

David (he/him):

Beautiful, we'll have that link for people in the show notes, all the ways that they can connect with you. It was so good to have you here. To hear your stories to hear your experiences. definitely given me a lot to think about anything else you want to leave the people with.

Janice Jerome:

I appreciate and thank you for your patience. Thank you for considering me to be on the podcast. I think that you that season that I'm talking about that flavor that you have that you're adding to life. I think one I believe one day, as I say people won't see your comment. They'll just know. You know, David has already taken care of that. So thank you for your visions. And giving birth to your business people have reasons but they don't give birth to them. So thank you for giving birth.

David (he/him):

Thank you. That's definitely received. Man, everyone. This has been a wonderful conversation. I hope you've enjoyed it. We'll be back with another great one next week. Until then, take care