Centre County Community Conferencing, a restorative justice program being launched by Center for Alternatives in Community Justice and CentrePeace this spring, has appointed Elizabeth Siegelman as its facilitator coordinator.
Siegelman was selected from among more than 70 applicants, according to a press release.
While earning her Ph.D. from Drew Theological Seminary in Madison, N.J., Siegelman was program coordinator for Drew’s PREP (Partnership for Religion and Education in Prisons) Program, where she facilitated an “inside-out” classroom model inside two New Jersey state prisons.
“Given my own experiences of watching formerly incarcerated family members struggle to reintegrate, I understand how difficult the transition back into the community can be,” Siegleman said. “As a community conferencing facilitator, I am dedicated to making that transition smoother.
“I feel very lucky to be working for Centre County Community Conferencing and feel that our shared goal of resolving community conflicts through mutually agreed upon resolutions, allows me to live into my values as a person of faith and restorative justice advocate.”
Siegleman is the primary point of contact for all facilitators volunteering with CCCC. She is developing a growing pool of facilitators representing diverse populations of Centre County. Eleven of those community volunteers and Siegelman participated in a training last week conducted by Lauren Abramson, a restorative justice practitioner credited with establishing a highly successful Community Conferencing program in Baltimore.
Launching in May, CCCC will offer three conferencing programs: Court Diversion, Neighborhood Disputes, and Reentry. The process includes a neutral facilitator meeting with any number of people involved in a dispute. Attendees of the conference are encouraged to openly discuss the issues, voice individual experiences and create a resolution together.
“CCCC prioritizes transforming conflict into cooperation through conversation,” according to a press release. “Community conferencing, while new to Centre County, is a proven restorative justice method growing in popularity in major metropolitan areas in the United States and utilized in other parts of the world for many years.”