Grace Among Us

023 - Embracing Grace over Punishment: Unraveling Restorative Justice with Lou Freyer

July 25, 2023 Carri Adcock and Ebony C. Gilbert
Grace Among Us
023 - Embracing Grace over Punishment: Unraveling Restorative Justice with Lou Freyer
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

What does graceful justice look like? Ready to challenge the preconceived notions of you may have about justice? Brace yourselves for a transformative conversation with Lou Freyer, a retired psychologist and school counselor, currently associated with the Virginia Center for Restorative Justice. Together, we debunk traditional concepts of justice and explore the powerful potential of restorative justice. This beautiful, graceful approach, centered around responsibility, repair, and reconnection, aims not to punish the offender but to rebuild the community and reintegrate those who have faltered.

More than just a theory, we bring restorative justice to life through real case studies. Join us as we dissect everything from felony assault cases to tragic hazing incidents, all handled through the lens of restorative justice. Not only do we bust the myth of restorative justice being the 'easy way out,' we'll discuss how it promotes healing and growth for both the individual and the community. Lou's experience lends us a clear vision of restorative justice in action, unraveling its transformative power and the profound impact it leaves behind.

We also examine how restorative practices can create harmonious dynamics in all environments, including homes to schools. Learn to invite the tools of restorative justice into your own life, such as active listening and asking for specific change requests, with Lou guiding us through. Understand how you can become a part of this empathetic approach to justice and be the change in your community. So, are you ready to embrace a more compassionate justice system that focuses on grace over punishment? Tune in for an enlightening conversation that can forever shift your perspective on crime, punishment, and redemption.

Documentary Adam Oaks Story - https://youtu.be/iFTWUnfEy6w
Links about Restorative Justice:

and the "Center for Justice & Peacebuilding" at emu.edu

We'd love to meet you in person! Come Join Us in Heaven's Net. A 3-day retreat March 13 - 15, 2024 - find out more by clicking HERE.

Speaker 1:

Welcome to Grace Among Us, the podcast where we unearth the many faces and places of grace and share stories of the power of grace in our human lives. Our desire is that this will inspire you to see grace in your own life and share it with others.

Carri Richard:

Hello, hello everybody, welcome. My name is Carri Richard. I'm a mindset coach and I am doing one of my most, very favorite things is to talk with my dear friend, Ebony Gilbert, about the subject of grace, and today we have an amazing, amazing guest that I can't wait for you to hear. So, Ebony.

Ebony Gilbert:

Good day, good people. My name is Ebony Gilbert and I get to hang out with Carri, and today I get to hang out with Mr Lou. Carri and I get together periodically to have these podcasts and we thought it would be amazing if you guys could hear from a dear friend of ours about something very cool and neat he's doing in his spare time. So, Lou, to you, tell us who you are and help folks understand why we're so excited to have you today.

Lou Freyer:

Okay, well, glad to be here, thrilled to be here. You know my name is Lou Freyer. I am a retired psychologist and counselor and I moved to Virginia here in Virginia about 10 years ago and was looking for volunteer service work to do and came across the Virginia Center for Restorative Justice and it was like, oh boy, that was like one of my favorite things in my job that I did. I was originally trained in restorative justice in 1997. So lots of experience of using it in school systems and since I've been here, you know, more opportunities to work in criminal justice and the prison system here in Virginia. So I'll tell you a little bit about the Virginia Center for Restorative Justice. You know it's a faith-based volunteer organization. Everybody that works with us and it's a crew of about 60, I'm going to say, very dedicated volunteers who give their time and energy just because they're passionate about social justice, restorative justice, creating equity in our justice and educational systems. And it's just been a delight for me to work with it. So I'll just go ahead and jump in and say well, what do I mean when I say restorative justice? And it's, it is a non-traditional approach to finding justice when harm has been done in a situation. It comes out of actually indigenous societies all around the world. It was brought, well re-brought, here to the United States in the late 70s and really took off in the mid-90s. And I say re-brought here because it was the form of justice that was practiced by the indigenous nations in North America. And the other place that it's really come from is in New Zealand the Maori tribesman there. So what is it basically? The belief in those societies is that when someone commits what we would call a crime, it caused harm in some way, that the harm goes against the entire community. It's not just one person, it fractures their community and their way of dealing with that is to bring everyone in the community together. So the person who caused the harm, the person or people who were harmed and the rest of the community, their families and everyone else and the person who caused the harm takes responsibility for what they've done. They learn how they have harmed other people and listen to that, with respect, and then as a community they come together to repair the harm that's been done and reintegrate that person back into the community. So the message there is you're an important person to us, you've made a mistake. Here's how you make it right, and we want you back as one of us. You're important to us. We love you. Any of your listeners who are history nerds that love to do it - the earliest recorded of this happening in the English language in North America can be found in what's called the Great Treaty of 1722, where two English colonists murdered a native man and it was bringing them to the brink of warfare with the Iroquois. The five nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. And the colonists at that time couldn't afford to have those people at war with them. It would have really been not good. And so they went to apply what we would consider our traditional justice system, their English form of justice, saying we're going to throw these guys in prison, find them guilty and execute them, and that will appease the native nations. But the indigenous people said no, no, no, wait, wait. That's not how we do things. We ask for a ceremony that closes, that recognizes the harm that's been done. We ask for reparations, and those two guys are our trading link to you. They're very important to our community. We want them back. There's no point in two more deaths and it's funny that treaty is still on the books in the United States. It's one of the earliest, maybe the earliest foreign treaty, but anyway, that's for the history nerds. I'll move on. So it's like one of the easiest ways to understand it is to compare it, contrast it, with our traditional forms of justice. And our traditional forms of justice ask these questions what law has been broken? Is this person guilty or not guilty of breaking that law? And if they're guilty, what is their punishment going to be? How severe is it going to be? In restorative justice, we ask three different questions what happened? And that includes what were you thinking when you did that? What were you feeling? Who do you think would be harmed by your actions? How do you think they would be harmed? And we answer the second question is who's been harmed and how? And then the third question is how do we repair the harm that's been done? How do we make it right? They're very different questions.

Carri Richard:

Absolutely.

Lou Freyer:

And they come with very different results. So here's where I see the tie in with grace, the connection between grace and forgiveness, because every one of these situations that I've been involved in, and there's been lots. Forgiveness is what comes out of it and reconnection between people. And if that's not grace, I don't know what is. It's something that flows through us. Forgiveness, you know, we don't, it's something that comes through us to another person and that we receive from another person. And that's pretty much, I guess, my working definition of grace. You know, something that comes to us from beyond and that we can channel to another. So and one of the things I guess this probably best can I tell some stories?

Carri Richard:

Yes.

Lou Freyer:

Or do you have questions? I think I saw questions in your eyes. I know yeah.

Carri Richard:

So good.

Ebony Gilbert:

I think, you.

Carri Richard:

I think you read me well, so it's a beautiful definition and a beautiful picture. You've painted such a clear picture of the difference between the traditional justice system that we have in the United States today that is like one of separation it's almost like you did this thing and now you're out and this restorative justice where it's like, no, you're not out, and actually we want you in, so let's see how we can invite you back in, which is, I mean, everybody, everybody needs that message.

Lou Freyer:

I I yeah.

Carri Richard:

And I think we had talked about this before and this was a powerful statement you made, so I just want to say it. You talk about this process. Tell me if I say it right. It removes the deed from the doer.

Lou Freyer:

Right, yes, exactly right.

Carri Richard:

And it's yeah, so. So grace is like I'm a loved human being, right? Grace tells me that I am always loved, and it's as you speak about this, it's that reflection of, hey, wait a second, the deed you did was no bueno, not okay, but you're still, let's figure out how to you know there's still love for you here.

Lou Freyer:

Right, yeah, it's. Yeah, those are very important points. It is about bringing people back to community, whereas so much of our not only criminal justice but discipline systems say in school, what happens when you get in trouble on school? You get suspended. Well, you go to the principal's office and and the ultimate thing would be suspension or expulsion You're picked out.

Carri Richard:

Yeah.

Lou Freyer:

And and I'm going to come back to that because we're doing some work with schools right now but you know, or in the criminal justice system you're sent away, you know you're incarcerated, and in both of those cases, when the person returns from that that situation it's just like you're back. There's no reintegration to the community. So, like when I'm doing trainings for people you know groups that use this I say to them to imagine the very worst thing that you've ever done in your life, the very worst thing that I've ever done, and then imagine that printed on a t-shirt that you have to wear everywhere you go. And that's what happens often in our traditional justices. You know X, common thief, addict, bad kid, whatever goes on there. And so I gave it. I gave it a piece for any history nerds in your audience. Here's a piece for, like any theory nerds in your audience. Okay, Okay. The foundation, the psychological foundation for why this works, is something called reintegrative shame. Okay, and we tend to think of shame as a bad thing, right, but it's like probably the first emotion we ever feel. We feel it like this as little kids Uh-oh, I did something wrong, right. And in restorative justice practices, reintegrative shame is what we're looking for in the process. In traditional justice, there is stigmatizing shame applied. In other words, the person might feel like I've done something wrong, but they're given no way out, they're given no way to correct it, they're given no way to come back into the community.

Ebony Gilbert:

Would reintegrative shame be similar to remorse?

Lou Freyer:

Yes, okay, yes, yeah, it's that. And let me take you through the process. For example, sure, an example. I use a criminal justice and I'm going to kind of like, because of the confidentiality and all this, I'm just going to like mesh together a bunch of situations. But, um, so you know, imagine a person, hard-of- hearing, coming off a long day of work and going to McDonald's, to the drive-up window and ordering a whopper. And the person in the drive-in window says "we don't sell whoppers, but I want to walk. Now they're in an argument. By the time that that unfolds and the manager gets involved, there is soda being thrown at people. This one situation was in the midst, the height of the pandemic, when nobody knew what was going on and one person took the gum out of their mouth and threw it in the face of the other person. Police were called. Police came and do what they do. They listened, they figured, have to arrest somebody. So somebody gets the person that drove up gets arrested, charged with assault. Okay, here's what would happen in traditional justice. That case would go to court. It would all of a sudden become not a conflict between two people. It becomes like if I assault somebody and I go to court. How do they define that? The state of Virginia against Lou Freyer, right, yeah, and it takes a conflict and builds it into a bigger conflict. Win and lose situation. I'm now not the people that don't have a voice in that or the people who are involved it's another conflict that's created. It's a win- lose situation, you know, and it's. Y know who wins and loses? The lawyers. "Got them off or, you know, got the maximum sentence". So, if it's a maximum, if it's a sentence thing, then that person is removed from the community. So in this case and here's something that's very exciting you're in Virginia we were approached by the commonwealth attorney's office, starting in Richmond and then Henrico County and now here at Williamsburg and James City County. Those are the prosecutors, right? They called us up and said, "we need something else. We can't just keep sending people to prison. And they have been very supportive in sending us referrals, working with us. I mean, it's kind of that's grace right there. You would think the defense side would be saying hey, you know, I was blown away the first time I had that conversation. So in this particular case they went to the preliminary hearing. The commonwealth. The prosecutor pulls the defense attorney aside and says, "you know we have this other process we could try. Let's see if the judge will continue the case for 90 days. Give us time to do this and see how it works. Okay, so the judge agreed, we got the case and this is how it goes. You have pre-conference meetings with each side and everyone involved. Explain very carefully what the process is like. You read, you know you work through with people Like the person has to be able to admit yes, I did that. They have to be able to say yes, I did that.

Ebony Gilbert:

Can I pause for one second? That is so good. I had written that down for my question, because grace is available to everyone, but you have to receive it. You have to receive it.

Lou Freyer:

Right, exactly.

Ebony Gilbert:

There's a step you have to take to access it right? It kind of triggered me and I got excited on the inside. But that right there, that piece is so critical.

Lou Freyer:

It's so important and in working with the legal system, we have a very clearly defined of. Whatever happens in our process is confidential, so the person is not saying I'm guilty of committing a crime. And back to what you said, Carri, "I did this, you know. Yeah, I threw my gum in that guy's face. I did that. And in working with them through the questions who do you think was harmed? How do you think they were harmed? You know what were you thinking at the time? What were you feeling? I was just angry. You know, I was just angry. And it's like to help them understand. We're going to talk about one incident that happened on one day at one time. Period. We're not here to talk about you as a person.

Carri Richard:

It's huge.

Lou Freyer:

It's huge. So if you have that on the on the responsible party's side and then you meet with the so-called victims, you know the harmed party and they are open to sharing what it was like for them and listening. And having their questions that they want to ask. You do all that work ahead of time. You meet with their supporters, their families and community members who will all be part of sitting in a circle together to work this through. Parentheses, it's not a panacea, it's not for everything. You know, sometimes we get a referral and you sit down with the offender in a criminal justice system and they'll they can't get past it. Yeah, but he. But yeah, but I didn't, but it was yeah, but it's like well, all right, then you need to go try and convince the judge of that. This is not going to work for you. Or if there's the possibility of revictimization of the harmed party, that's not going to work for them. So after you do all that work, then you get together as a circle and you go around and you start with the person that did the harm. You say what did you do? What were you thinking? Who do you think was harmed and how? And usually that's pretty surface. You know. I remember a kid was walking down the street, saw a bicycle. Said, " a nice bicycle hopped on the bicycle road away, got caught four blacks down the street and you know when we got sent to a person it got sent to us and it was like who do you think was harmed? "Well, I don't know who you know. So it was somebody's bike, I guess. Well, turns out it was the door dash guy's bike. It was his living Right. But he didn't, you know, he didn't know that at the time. It's like, yeah, that'd be funny bicycle. I went for ride on the bicycle. Especially young people are like that. You know a lot of school things. Why? Why did you do that? We thought it would be fun. And then everybody else in the room gets to talk about how they were affected. The person who was directly affected you know, the girl in the drive-in window, the manager that got into the fight at the drive-in window, the person you know who was charged with assault their family members what would it was like to get that phone call come get them from jail. You know this person was working in a field where they had to have a background check. If they were convicted of a crime they would not be able to continue their career. So how's that going to affect their family and the person? It's a very specific set of questions, a very specific process and a very respectful process.

Ebony Gilbert:

Can I ask a question?

Lou Freyer:

Yes.

Ebony Gilbert:

So and I'm just going to play a little bit of Devil's advocate here, go for it. I love it. We're feeling what you're saying, but for the listeners this sounds very warm and fuzzy and feel- goody. How do you couple the feel- good, it sounds good, it's a great pitch with, "his holds people accountable and they're not going to go do it again.

Lou Freyer:

That's where - I'm glad you asked that question. I was just getting there. Oh, that's where the yeah where the reintegrate of shame piece comes.

Ebony Gilbert:

Okay, okay.

Lou Freyer:

Okay, as the person who's the offending party, is sitting there looking in the eye of the person they've harmed and hearing from them how they were harmed, and it gets very emotional. (Ebony - I imagine. People get angry, they cry. They, you know, and you will physically. I know it's working because I always have that person sitting next to me when I'm facilitating. I know this is working. When I start to see them getting smaller in their chair, they're starting to, you know. They might have said I thought you know it was funny, it was like so what? bicycle? And when they start to collapse and feel it and cry themselves, okay, you know, that's the piece that's going to have them not do it again. Yeah, if you, if you're, if you go to court and you get sent to prison, you're going to be mad at the judge and the system and the whoever, okay. But when you have to look someone in the eye and listen, without coming back at them, without you know explaining yourself, without defending yourself, and feel it - O ne of the myths around restorative justice is that it lets people off easy.

Ebony Gilbert:

That's what I was getting at.

Lou Freyer:

Yeah, it's much harder. It's much harder because they do feel it and that's, that's the shame piece. The redintegrative piece comes next, where everybody gets a chance to say the question there is what do you need? What do you need now? What do you need now, what do you need now? All around the circle, and we close the, we close the process, coming out of it with an agreement that everyone signs. Often - now, in this case, with the one I'm going to come mishmashing together, in cases like it, all the people wanted was a sincere, heartfelt apology, and that came. That came with tears, in true feeling. Okay, and, and this happens, that this is part of the magic, the grace, if you want to call it that happens in this process that, like the manager in that particular case said and I'm sorry, because I need to train my staff better on what to do with people who are hard- of- hearing at the drive- in window, I can't hear the drive in window myself, but imagine and, that manager began to cry and said, "I said to the judge at the hearing this is all we needed was to talk to each other. I didn't want this person to be punished, and they walked out of that room hand in hand, laughing, after giving each other a hug. I had one. This is going to be a mishmash too - where the a person was charged with felony assault on the police office. You know where that will go for them.

Carri Richard:

That's, that's a big ticket item.

Lou Freyer:

That's a big ticket item. First offense in the midst of a blackout, drinking thing, and the prosecuting attorney said there's going to be nothing served here sending this young woman to jail. Yeah, so we did do all the prep work. The assaulted officer, who was put out of work for a week, came in kind of like armed for you know, ready to do this, willing to do it, and by the time we got done, and again, there are people from the larger community there. That's we always invite people from like the larger community, and that's that also helps with that shaming part. You have to say what you did in front of a whole pile of people.

Carri Richard:

Can you give an example. I know you can't be specific, but when you say larger community, is it family members? Is it people they don't know?

Lou Freyer:

It's all of that, and people that they don't know. So we have volunteers who, like you say, the safety in my neighborhood is important to me, you know, and when you broke into this person's house and burglarized it, it destroys the safety I feel in my community. Or people will say you know, "we just want you to turn this around and not do it again, particularly with in neighborhoods and people of color, because it's like don't reinforce the image that people have of my neighborhood. You're better than that, we're better than that, so you know. So we do, we do an agreement, what do you need? What do you need? What do you need, what do you need and what the person can agree to do as a result, and a lot of stuff comes out of that - community service, financial restitution, and the person agrees to do what they need to do to repair the harm.

Carri Richard:

So so what happened with this woman who was up for felony assault?

Lou Freyer:

Well, I'll tell you what happened in this part of the process. Okay, at the very end the police officer went over and said here's my personal cell phone number, call me anytime you need help. And the police officer was thrilled because they never get to do that, they never get to see a positive outcome, and you know I'm dealing with confidentiality. But let me say, it ended up, went back to court with our report. We write a report, then that goes back to the judge which says, yeah, here was the agreement and we monitored and the person fulfilled their side of the agreement. They did whatever was requested of them In that case that was a period of probation and the person continued to do well after the probation, all charges would be dropped. That's a lot different than you know, three to five in the state penitentiary or whatever it would be. So that's another one, and this I don't have to be confidential about because people have been very, very public about it there was a student at VCU in Richmond who died as a result of a hazing incident. You know he was part of joining the fraternity. He was, you know, encouraged, almost forced to drink not just a fifth of a whole handle of Jack Daniels in a gulp and died and his fraternity sponsor and the president of the fraternity thought he was just sleeping right. They didn't do anything. So they were charged and went to court, pled guilty and the family of the boy who died said ,"well we want to have restorative justice as part of their sentence. And so we held those conferences where that family got to let them know. Those boys know what it was like for them. There were also consequences to them. You know they were dismissed from the university and so on. But part of the agreement was that they go with the family of the young man who died to speak to other universities and fraternities and tell about their experience together. And even after I think it was like five times or something like that they continue to do it. If you look, there's a documentary it's called the Adam Oaks Case, where these people are still going around the country talking to other students and I was just with them back in May and they're very close with each other the young men and mom and dad and a cousin of the young man that died.

Carri Richard:

So this go ahead Well.

Lou Freyer:

I was just going to say and just working with some schools recently in doing re-entry conferencing when students come back from suspension or incarceration, like sitting in a circle and making an agreement of what they're going to do and the supports that are going to be given to them in bringing them back into the school. Rather than just like oh, your suspension's over, go back to class now. And forgetting what that student does when they walk back into classroom - what they experience.

Carri Richard:

So what I'm hearing is that they've gone through the traditional method, of punishment but you're picking them back up on the way back in.

Lou Freyer:

Yeah, I think about when. I was just what was it? Tuesday doing training with some of these school people and I said you know, think about being a parent in school. There's that legal phrase in loco parentis, right, when you have the kids in school, you're their parent and it's like, but think about being a parent. Sometimes you send your kid to time- out, you know, but when they come back out, you help them learn ways to not do whatever sent them there. You hug them, you tell them you love them and you go on and have a life. A nd that's grace too - the love that goes there. So in restorative practices we're looking at having high expectations for people, high requirements for behavior and a high level of support. And our traditional justice system says you know "you broke a law. Here's what we're going to do to you and what we work towards is "you made a mistake. Here's what we're going to do with you, together to get over it. And magic happens. I could sit here and tell 10,000 stories. I mean really.

Carri Richard:

Yeah, I mean it's I want to use the M word - it's miraculous. And yeah, if it from a contrast perspective, like if you look at you know, when you go to jail, you do your, you do your punishment and then you're free. You're free and, by the way, people are going to know what you did and we're not going to talk about it and you're going to have to figure out how to bring yourself back into the fold. And then there's this piece where there's probably healing that's going on that actually had nothing to even do with the incident, because you know, this community that's coming together for the welfare of the entire community.

Lou Freyer:

Yes, of every one. And and and like to go back to your question, Ebony, about, like, it sounds soft, but it's the only way to get people to change, because they have to take responsibility for what they do. I'll tell one more story. It's got nothing to do with restorative justice, but it sort of put me on the path. And I was working time ago, in like mid 70s, you know, I was working as a counselor in an elementary school and making no money. So I had a second job at night in the county prison, right, working with the prisoners. And there was no difference. If I had to deal with two first graders that got in trouble because they were fighting or whatever, their first response was yeah, but he, he, he. And when I would talk with the prisoners in the prison, what are you doing here? Oh, that judge doesn't like me. You know, my friend talked me into it. You know that person shouldn't have been there.

Ebony Gilbert:

No personal accountability.

Lou Freyer:

Yeah, nothing, and so there's gonna be no, no reason to change, especially if you walk out with the shirt on of shame and it just fuels your anger. So I, I Think that, I think - do you have other questions? I can kind of pause there or tell more stories. I have no idea what our time is like here.

Carri Richard:

It's whatever we want it to be. I think - yeah, I do have a question. So, as you said, it's a very specific process and you - you meet with the, the Person who did the deed, and you meet with the people who were - the person or people who were affected by it, and then you bring the community together and you have this specific process and everybody understands the process before you get there, all these things. So it's very structured and it's such a - If you were to and I don't know if you can, how can you how could you bring this into your own home?

Lou Freyer:

Yes, it's basic listening. Okay, that's the thing there's, there's power, there's healing, and listening to someone's story with respect and Making them feel heard Okay, that's what would like. Crime victims really get out of this A lot of it. They have questions. You know, why did you break into my house? What is it about me that made me a target? Most times it's got nothing to do with it, you know. But there's there's healing in listening to the stories and - Remember how part of the, the restorative process, is asked for what you need. What do you need? What do you need? What do you need? That is the question To be able to ask and listen to very carefully in this situation. So and I was taught long ago something that's called specific change request- Mm-hmm. Okay, a process. It's kind of like you need to understand, like it, when I'm doing something over and over that's annoying, like maybe the person I live with - you know. Then it's for either me to go to her or her to come to me and say, look, we keep fighting over the same thing, okay, so what do I need to know? First of all, why is it so important to you? There's a story behind that, right? There's a reason behind it. I need to listen and understand that. To see how my behavior is really affecting another person and why - that's restorative justice, right. And then it's asking, what do you need from me to make it right now. In our homes, usually, what comes out is is like a huge universal request, "I want you to never, ever". Or always do this. right yet, and you know, that's where you have to listen to the other person, and this is part of the restorative justice process too. When we come up with the agreement, what do you need? What do you need? The other question is to the person who is you know the caused the harm. Can you do that?

Carri Richard:

mmmm.

Lou Freyer:

Can you promise to do that? And if there's going to be a problem with you doing that, we need to negotiate. Okay, so like for financial restitution - if it's a 14 year old kid, you know, and you don't want the parents paying that money.

Carri Richard:

It's not gonna help.

Lou Freyer:

Yeah, so you know, we talked about community members. We have a lady in Richmond who owns five McDonald's franchises, and and she'll come sometimes be a community participant because that's where her restaurants are in those neighborhoods. And she'll say, you know, if she listens and she's seeing true remorse and all that and there needs to be financial restitution made. She'll say, " I'll give you a job, one my restaurants, but your entire paychecks going to that and and if it works out, you have a job". So but they're like getting back to home, it's like you know. So it's like, well, I can't promise that always, ever, never stuff, but what's one thing I can do that will show you. But I've heard you and it's important to me", and And then when you get to that, then I need to be really, really focused on doing what I promised I would do - that one thing, and it can build from there. So does that answer your question?

Carri Richard:

Absolutely, there's so much good stuff in there and it's that - I t's a framework of listening and then also being heard and saying, okay, I hear you and and I'm gonna - I love that specific - here's the one thing I can do to show you, because I don't know that I ever had that tool without somebody teaching me that, right? It was like, "well, you're pissing me off, so you need to change everything.

Lou Freyer:

Yeah, all the time. yeah, right.

Carri Richard:

I'll do that and then it's more the focus of how you're failing at not being able to change everything.

Lou Freyer:

Yeah right. Yeah yeah, and here's the thing too. I'll use an example from from my life. You know, we used to often get into like arguments in the car If I was driving, because be like, do you see that? And then I'd get mad. Of course, I see that, whatever. So we had that conversation right and, and it's like what, you know what is this about? And then listening to the story of my wife being in a car with her six brothers and sister and mom and her father driving drunk and feeling trapped in the back seat, and it's like, oh, that's who I have in the car with me, you know. So what can I do? "Well, I want you to always pay attention, and never did that, you know. It's like well, where, here's where we landed, "when the light turns green, go. And you know what? I was one of those guys that would be looking around and the light would turn green and I wouldn't go to somebody behind me blew their horn.

Ebony Gilbert:

Right, we have a podcast on that, we do.

Carri Richard:

We do.

Ebony Gilbert:

We talked about that we really do, the person who does not go when the light turns green and how it makes us feel yes.

Lou Freyer:

That was me. You know I should look up that podcast, but you know what? So that's the thing it's like. "I hear you, it's important to me, I will do that. Now it's important, I do that, right, and guess what happens? Just like the person in the restorative conference who can turn their life around with support and choices not to do that, whatever that specific thing was. Again - Guess who became a better driver?

Carri Richard:

Mr. Lou!

Lou Freyer:

Guess who no longer gets honked at? Or as much anyway. But you know, and it can build from there. I have learned to pay better attention driving.

Carri Richard:

And it also it changes things from - I love that example, and I am going to figure out which podcast it was.

Lou Freyer:

Yeah, send it to me I will, but it switches that from.

Carri Richard:

I have to do this because she's mad to I get to. I get to pay attention at the light because I know what an impact it makes. It's super empowering.

Lou Freyer:

Because I love you and grace is grace is love, right.

Ebony Gilbert:

Yeah.

Lou Freyer:

That's another definition. That's, that's the message of restorative justice in a nutshell. We love you, you know. But if one of the people that work, that work with us, Dr. Josh Bacon, has a book out. It's a good one. It's called, I screwed up now what - it talks about this process with young people.

Carri Richard:

Awesome, Lou, so much goodness. I'm excited to hear it, to listen to this again because I know I'm going to pick up stuff. It is such a gift to have you here. Ebony, you are the master at closing us out, and bringing it all together. So I'm putting you on the spot.

Ebony Gilbert:

I don't know if I'm going to do it justice. You get it? Oh, there we go. Probably failed with that comment, but I'm going to give it a shot. Thank you so much for joining us. This was so jam packed full of good nuggets and good takeaways. A couple of things that really, really resonated with me, totally resonated with me. Sometimes the grace of God can feel like we're getting a pass, and we're hesitant to offer that grace to other people. I feel like we're letting them go, get away with something. That's not the principle. It's rooted in love. The reintegrate of shame. We have to redefine how we think of shame. Shame is acknowledging that you did something that wasn't the most decent thing in the world and we're going to turn from that and do something different the next time. So redefining shame whether it's shame for something you, some crime you committed against someone else or something that you're just embarrassed about that doesn't make you feel good and doesn't represent your family values. Redefine that and use it to the benefit and the building up how you can be better the next time. Grace - that restorative justice is not absolved. You have accountability. There still may be some consequences. It just packs love and grace on top of it so that you don't have to walk around with the x-con t-shirt on all the time. There's healing in that, there's restoration in that, and when it comes to us, then it can flow through us. So it's important that we're able to receive it so that we can pass it on to others. And I have a page full of notes and I'll stop there because I don't want too get lengthy. There was so much in it. I need to listen to it again and carry. I don't know, maybe we can have a part two where we kind of just piggyback off of this and we talk about all the lessons that came out of it.

Carri Richard:

Absolutely, absolutely, and we might bring you back on in it, Lou.

Lou Freyer:

Yeah, absolutely, I can talk 10 hours. We've only done one and I was going to say too I don't know if you like I have some websites where people are interested in learning more which I can send to you. Karen, I don't know if you can attach to the information piece of your podcast.

Carri Richard:

Yeah, absolutely, and for anybody out there who has questions about this, because there was so much, please put them in the comments, let us know and we'd be happy to follow up.

Lou Freyer:

So Lou, thank you so much. Yeah, exactly.

Carri Richard:

Well, thank you for the opportunity. And thank you for the work that you do in this world. It's really it's beautiful, yeah, so.

Lou Freyer:

Yeah, thank you so much.

Carri Richard:

This was rich.

Lou Freyer:

Great, this was Glad to be here. Awesome. Well, thank you all.

Carri Richard:

We'll see you. Thank you, Ebony, and Grace out, grace out, grace out, thank you so much for joining us.

Speaker 1:

If you enjoyed this episode, please let us know. We love to hear from you and share it with a friend. Also, please be sure to subscribe so you're notified when a new episode is posted. We hope you're leaving with another pointer to grace, a new perspective that will light it up in your own life. Until next time, be well, be bold, be kind to yourself and be on the lookout.

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Grace and Restorative Justice
Restorative Justice and Reintegration in Communities
For our theory nerds, the theory behind Restorative Justice
The Power of Restorative Justice
Hazing and Death - Healing beyond
Restorative Justice and Healing Through Listening