Restorative Conferencing

A Restorative Conference invites participation into a safe, carefully facilitated conversation. Restorative Conferencing is always voluntary for all participants and the entire process is confidential.

Restorative Conferencing can be an effective process for repairing relationships during, or in the wake of, conflict. It provides an opportunity for exploring the roots of conflict, enhancing mutual understanding, and supporting individual and collective healing.

Restorative Conferencing is often used in cases where one person(s) has caused specific harm to another or others. In criminal justice parlance, these conferences are often called Victim-Offender Conferences (VOC) or Victim-Offender Mediations (VOM). When harm has occurred, those responsible for causing the harm and those harmed by the actions/behavior of others come together to discuss what happened, the impact of the harm, and what can be done to best repair it. Often, members of the community that has been impacted by the harm, are invited to participate in the conference. As with other participants, they are encouraged to share both how they have been impacted and how they can help support efforts toward restitution and reparation. 

Pre-Conference Meetings

Prior to a Restorative Conference, the facilitator speaks separately with each party to explore their goals/hopes for the conference, answer questions and help them prepare. In meeting with the person who caused harm, the facilitator will determine their readiness to accept responsibility for their actions or behavior. If the person who caused harm does not acknowledge the harm done, a restorative conference will not be convened.

The Restorative Conference

The actual conference is a structured meeting, led by a trained facilitator, during which all parties are given an opportunity to share their view of what has happened. The harmed party is given an opportunity to describe how they have been impacted by the actions of the person who caused the harm. The person who caused harm has an opportunity to explain their actions and accept responsibility for their harmful behavior. After all, participants have shared their perspectives on what happened and the harm that was caused, the process then turns to developing a plan to best repair the harm.

Benefits of Participation in a Harmed Party

In a Restorative Conference addressing specific harm, you will have the opportunity to:

  •   tell your story in a safe setting, and to be heard and understood
  •   to ask the person who harmed you questions you may have about the incident
  •   to directly share with the person who caused you harm the impact of their actions, including any anger and pain they may have caused
  •   learn more about the person who caused the harm and, potentially, why they did what they did
  •   participate in a collaborative discussion about what can be done to help repair the harm
  •   help ensure that similar incidents will not harm you or others in the future
  •   advance your own personal healing process

Benefits of Participation for a Party that Caused Harm

In a Restorative Conference addressing specific harm, you will have the opportunity to:

  •   tell your story in a safe setting, and to be heard and understood
  •   to have an opportunity to explain your motivations, actions, behavior
  •   to share how the incident has affected you
  •   participate in a collaborative discussion about what can be done to help repair the harm
  •   to avoid having a decision imposed by a judge or some other legal process that may be difficult or impossible for you to comply with   
  •   be accountable for your actions and advance your own personal healing process
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Valeria Jimenez – Case Manager & Outreach Coordinator

Valeria is the Outreach & Program Coordinator for Mountain Mediation Center, administering the landlord-tenant eviction diversion program in partnership with local organizations to help prevent and resolve landlord-tenant disputes. She specializes in public outreach, collaborating with agencies and community partners, and connecting communities to resources.

During her time at the Utah State Courts, she managed statewide community outreach initiatives, education of court programs to the public, and was chosen as a recipient of the Excellence in Advancing Justice award. Beyond her professional capacity, Valeria volunteers with We Rise First-Generation Scholars, a program of the Wasatch Education Foundation. Valeria is passionate about bringing young Latino leaders together and building community in the professional, academic, and civic space. She has plans to continue her education by earning a J.D. in the near future.

Kris Campbell – Program Director

Kris is the Program Director for Mountain Mediation Center, overseeing MMC’s programs, fundraiser, and rapidly expanding training program, and coordinating our dedicated volunteers. He is passionate about bringing people together to work through conflicts productively. Kris began his work with MMC as a volunteer in 2020, facilitating Community Conversations and leading training sessions to build understanding, connection, and community along the Wasatch Back. In 2023, Kris served as MMC’s Board Chair. 

When he’s not at work, Kris often spends time with his kids, serving the community through Rotary, Braver Angels, and the Park City LGBTQ+ Taskforce, or exploring area trails.

Gretchen Lee – Executive Director

Gretchen is an attorney and a court-qualified mediator with the Utah Courts. She has an extensive government relations background- having worked as an attorney for the Utah State Legislature as well as the private and nonprofit sectors drafting resolutions, initiatives and other policy documents. Gretchen serves on the Board of Trustees for the Utah Council of Conflict Resolution and is a member of the Restorative Justice Collaborative of Utah. She graduated from Colgate University and Emory School of Law.