NYSDA’s Restorative Justice Program (RJP) seeks to end cycles of violence and abuse at a community level, decrease incarceration and promote healing using restorative and trauma-informed practices. Restorative practice (RP) integrates education, psychology, brain science, criminology and sociology to build healthy communities, decrease antisocial behavior and crime, and restore relationships. In criminal justice, restorative justice (RJ) circles allow victims and offenders to explore how everyone was affected by an offense and repair the harm. In education, RP circles help students share feelings, foster respect and collaboration, and solve problems.
The RJP staff conducts RJ case sessions and trains RP and RJ practitioners in public defense, probation, prosecution, schools, social services and health, as well as community groups, to create Community Restorative Practitioner Teams. The Teams implement case-specific restorative practices utilizing the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) certified Restorative Practice Trainings with coaching from RJP staff. The RJP is first focusing on the Capital District area, fostering healing and restitution in the poor, violent crime-plagued neighborhoods of Rensselaer, Albany, and Schenectady counties with a special school initiative in Schenectady. Restorative practices provide healthy and just alternatives to incarceration, detention, and suspension for a range of cases.
John Cutro, NYSDA RJP Restorative Practitioner, conducts restorative practice trainings and case-specific processes. He is a IIRP certified trainer and has presented at many national and international conferences. Using restorative and trauma-informed practices, he has helped address inner-city violence and trained communities and schools, including the Community Accountability Boards of the Albany County District Attorney's Office, Albany County Probation, Schenectady Center for Community Justice, NYS University at Albany, and Newburg, NY. Previously, he was a licensed private investigator, mitigation specialist, and victim liaison for the NYS Capital Defender Office, and used restorative practices in death penalty cases. He graduated from SUNY Albany with a B.S. in Physics and attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. A Sage College adjunct criminal justice teacher, he also taught biostatistics and scientific research methods as a faculty member of Albany Medical College.
John Cutro, Restorative Practitioner
Restorative Justice Program
194 Washington Ave., Albany, NY 12210