Howard Zehr CV

Widely known as “the grandfather of restorative justice,” Zehr began as a practitioner and theorist in restorative justice in the late 1970s at the foundational stage of the field. He has led hundreds of events in more than 25 countries and 35 states, including trainings and consultations on restorative justice, victim-offender conferencing, judicial reform, and other criminal justice matters. His impact has been especially significant in the United States, Brazil, Japan, Jamaica, Northern Ireland, Britain, the Ukraine, and New Zealand, a country that has restructured its juvenile justice system into a family-focused, restorative approach.

A prolific writer and editor, speaker, educator, and photojournalist, Zehr actively mentors other leaders in the field. More than 1,000 people have taken Zehr-taught courses and intensive workshops in restorative justice, many of whom lead their own restorative justice-focused organizations.

Zehr was an early advocate of making the needs of victims central to the practice of restorative justice. A core theme in his work is respect for the dignity of all peoples.

From 2008-2011 he served on the Victims Advisory Group of the U.S. Sentencing Commission. He serves on various other advisory boards.

In 2013, Zehr stepped away from active classroom teaching and became co-director, with Dr. Carl Stauffer, of the new Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice.

For his blog, click here
(For his photography, click here)

More complete vitae may be found on this page


B.A., Morehouse College, 1966
M.A., University of Chicago, 1968
Ph.D., Rutgers University, 1974


Pickups: A Love Story (Good Books, 2013).

What Will Happen to Me (with Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz) (Good Books, 2010).

Critical Issues in Restorative Justice (ed., with Barb Toews) (Criminal Justice Press, 2004).

The Little Books of Justice and Peacebuilding (General series editor; following titles are part of that series)

The Little Book of Contemplative Photography (Good Books, 2005).

The Little Book of Family Group Conferencing, New Zealand Style (Good Books, 2004). With Allan MacRae.

The Little Book of Restorative Justice (Good Books, 2002). (Translated into Japanese, Czech, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Ukrainian, German etc..; an adapted version, with Ali Gohar, published in Pakistan in English, Pushto, Urdu and Persian; also translated in Iran and other countries.)

Transcending: Reflections of Crime Victims (Good Books, 2001). (Japanese edition, 2006)

Doing Life: Reflections of Men and Women Serving Life Without Parole (Good Books, 1996). (Japanese edition, 2006)

Changing Lenses: A New Focus for Crime and Justice (Herald Press, 1990; revised 1995; Third Edition 2005). Published in Russian (1998), Japanese (2003), Ukranian (2004), Korean (2011), Arabic, Portuguese (Brazil 2008). Italian and others in process.

Crime and the Development of Modern Society: Patterns of Criminality in Nineteenth Century Germany and France (Croom Helm, 1976).

Recent articles & chapters:
“The Art of Justice: a reply to Brunilda Pali,” Restorative Justice: An International Journal, Vol. 2, No. 1, 95-102.
“Art That Heals,” in Mural Arts @ 30, edited by Jane Golden and David Updike, Paulette Moore co-author (Temple University Press, 2014).
“Art Helps Heal Crime’s Wounds,” Invited op-ed (“Opinion”) article, Philadelphia Inquirer, 5/6/12
“Restorative Justice and the Death Penalty” in The Promise of Restorative Justice: New Approaches for Criminal Justice and Beyond, edited by Drs. Dussich and Schellenberg (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2010)
“Intersection of Restorative Justice with Trauma Healing, Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding, Journal for Peace and Justice Studies, Vol. 18., No. 1-2, 20-30.
Essay and photos in Visual Restoration by Phoebe Zinman, (Philadelphia, PA: Mural Arts Program, 2009)
Cover endorsements for various books including Sunny Schwartz, Dreams from the Monster Factory (Scribner) and Cheryl Swanson, Restorative Justice in a Prison Community (Lexington Books)
Forward for Elaine Enns & Ched Myers, Ambassadors of Reconciliation, Vol. II: Diverse Christian Practices of Restorative Justice and Peacemaking (forthcoming, Orbis)
“The Role of Restorative Justice in Peacebuilding,” Peace Prints: South Asian Journal of Peacebuilding, Vol. 1, No. 1, Spring 2008, 19-36
“Restorative Justice in Death Penalty Cases: Defense-Initiated Victim Outreach.”– chapter to be included in John Dussich and Jill Schellenberg, Restorative Justice in Unlikely Places (forthcoming)
Foreword to Paul Redekop, Changing Paradigms: Punishment and Restorative Discipline (Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 2007)
“Why Can’t We Just Apologize?”, Crime Victims Report, Vol 11, No. 3, July/August 2007 p. 38.
Foreword to new English edition of Nils Christie, Limits to Pain (2007).
Preface to the Japanese edition of The Little Book of Restorative Justice.
Short column in New Zealand for “Ideas from the Edge,” New Zealand Inspired(UK), Feb/Mar. 2008 (p. 30).
“Doing Justice, Healing Trauma: The Role of Restorative Justice in Peacebuilding” Peace Track, Spring 2008 (WISCOMP, India).
Foreword, Martin Wright, Restoring Respect for Justice, 2nd edition (UK: Waterside Press, 2008)
Foreword, Jarem Sawatsky, Justpeace Ethical Guide for Restorative Justice and Peacebuilding (working title; Cascade Books, forthcoming)
Foreword, Margot Van Sluytman, Sawbonna: I See You. Dialogue of Hope (forthcoming)
“The Core Meaning of Restorative Justice, ”, 14 April 2007.
“Slavery Apology: admit wrongs; realize lasting impact,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution op-ed, 3/13/07.
“Capital Punishment is about vengeance, not justice,” Sojourners, April 2007 (46-47).
“A Christmas reflection on the death penalty” – released by EMU news service and used by various publications, 12/06.
Op-ed piece on apology – released by EMU news service and used by various publications, 3/07.
“Reframing Justice,”
“Signposts and markers on a circuitous road: Standards and values in restorative justice,” in New Frontiers in Restorative Justice, Warwick Tie, Shirley Juelich and Vicky Walters (eds.). (Auckland, New Zealand: Massey University Center for Justice and Peace Development, 2006).
“Justice: Retribution or Restoration,”, September 2006.
“The Ideas of Engagement and Empowerment,” in Handbook of Restorative Justice, Dan Van Ness and Gerry Johnstone (eds.) (UK: Willan, 2006) (Co-author Jennifer Larson Sawin)

Scholarly Presentations and Abstracts

2013-2014 presentations include:

Lecture, “Intersection of RJ with trauma healing, conflict transformation and peacebuilding,” DePauw University, Greencastle, PA, 4/4/14
Film discussion facilitation and lecture, Notre Dame University, Center for Social Concerns, Notre Dame, IN, 4/7-8/14
Closing keynote, Resistance to Mass Incarceration: Explore Restorative Justice in Chicago teach-in, Criminal Justice Society, University of Illinois Chicago, Chicago, IL, 4/10/14
“Restorative Justice and the Mennonites: What Were We Thinking?, Anabaptist Center for Religion and Society, Eastern Mennonite University, 4/14/14, with Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz
Skype presentation to class, St. Michael’s College, Colchester, VT, Robert Brenneman professor, 3/31/14
Lecture to undergraduate honors class& evening public lecture, University of North Carolina Greensboro 10/30/13
Skype presentation to class, St. Michael’s College, Colchester, VT, Robert Brenneman professor, 3/31/14

2011-2012 presentations include:

Co-instructor, RJ class, NARPI (Northeast Asia Regional Peace Institute) 8/16-17 (with Jae Young Lee and Carl Stauffer) intensive 5-day restorative justice course, Seoul, South Korea
Lecture, Higher Education Symposium, 2011 Pennsylvania Conference on Juvenile Justice, Harrisburg, PA 11/2/11
First Liz Elliott Memorial Lecture, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC, Canada 11/21/11
Skype presentation to Mindanao Peaebuilding Institute, Philippines 5/29/12
Guest lecturer, criminal justice class, National College, Harrisonburg 7/19/11
Seoul, South Korea 8/8-8/18:
Lecture, Ewha Women’s University Law School 8/11 (RJ Centre sponsor)
Lecture, Soongshil University (Social Welfare Dept. sponsor) 8/12
Lecture, Korea Institute of Criminology 8/12

2010-2011 presentations:

Canadian School of Peacebuilding, Canadian Mennonite University 6/28-7/2/2010
Plenary speaker and panelist and workshop facilitator, 3rd National Restorative Justice Conference, Raleigh, NC 6/8-9/11
Public lecture, University of Hamburg, Germany 11/19/10
All-day seminar, Institute for Peace Theology, University of Hamburg, Germany, 11/20/10
All-day seminar, ComPax, Bienenberg Theological Seminary, Switzerland 11/10

Other Presentations

2013-2014 presentations:

Public presentation, Glenwood Springs, CO, 5/7/13
Keynote presentation and film dialogue facilitation/panel, 2013 Restorative Justice Symposium, Colorado Springs, CO, 5/9-10/13
Teleconference lecture & Q&A, justice class, Educación Continua ENES UNAM León, Mexico City, 6/15/13
Dialogue with restorative justice group, Oregon State Penitentiary, Salem, OR, 6/25/13
2013 Northwest Justice Forum, Portland, OR: Opening plenary keynote, with Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz, and dinner keynote; also panel participant, 6/26-27/13
•NAACP Legal Defense Fund annual national capital defender’s conference, workshop presenter and plenary panelist, Airlie Conference Center, Warrenton, VA 7/13-14/13
Plenary address (with Carl Stauffer), Virginia Mediation Network Conference, EMU, 9/28/13.
Introduction to restorative justice by Skype to Washington DC training 10/10/13
Training presentation, James Madison University Judicial Affairs and Student Life, 2/27/14
“Contemplative photography,” Rocktown Camera Club, Harrisonburg, VA, 3/24/14

2011-2012 presentations:

Award dinner keynote, 3rd National Restorative Justice Conference, Raleigh, NC. Also film workshop “Concrete, Steel & Paint.” 6/9-10/11
Lecture, RJ Seminar, Civil Society Network for Restorative Justice, Seoul, South Korea 8/13
Lecture, Korea Organization for Victim Assistance conference/training, Seoul, South Korea 8/14
Lake Junaluska, NC:
2011 Evans Lectureship, “Re-visioning Justice” 9/30/11
Workshop: “Restorative Justice & Criminal Justice Reform” 10/1/11
Workshop: “Photography, Contemplation, and the Work of Justice” 10/1/11
Asheville, NC: Sunday discussion with Mennonite Fellowship 10/2/11
“Journalism through a Shalom Lens, workshop, Anabaptist Communicators Annual Meeting, 10/28/11
“What Will Happen to Me?” – lecture, Shenandoah Valley Lyceum at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Center, 11/4/11
Presentation/interview to Latin America, via teleconference 12/6/11
Presentation to 30+ judges in Costa Rica, via teleconference 12/13/11
Workshop presentation, Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges 2012 Mid-Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA 2/25/12
Panelist, “Broken on All Sides” (film), Prisons Expanding, School Closing conference, Community College of Philadelphia, 2/25/12
Public lecture, “A Brief History of the Victim-Offender and Restorative Justice Movements,” Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society (with Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz), Strasburg, PA 2/27/12
Videotaped lecture and skyped Q&A session, restorative justice conference, Taiwan, 3/4/12
Restorative Justice & the Legacy of Slavery, workshop, Coming to the Table conference, Richmond, VA 3/17/12
Presenter, Prisons, Profits & the Church Workshop, Ecumenical Advocacy Days, Arlington, VA 3/25/12
Keynote & workshop, Arts & Criminal Justice Symposium, Mural Arts Program, Philadelphia, PA 4/27/12

Media & interviews 2013-14

Interview with Naveena Kottoor, feature writer for BBC website, 7/30/13. Story: “How Do People Forgive a Crime Like Murder?” BBC News Magazine 8/19/13.
Interview with Newstalk (Ireland radio) on the Moncrieff Show with Sean Moncrieff. 8/22/13
Interview with Bob Corso, WHSV TV, 9/12/13
Interview with Sharyn Jackson, Des Moines Register, 10/11/13
Interview with Dax-Devlon Ross for “The Politics of Atonement: Finding Restorative Justice in Massachusetts, Next City (
Background interview with David Perry, writer for Edge Media Network, 1/30/14
Interview with John Shuck on seven Tennessee-area NPR stations and podcast (, 2/27-3/6/14
Background interview with Sam Piranty, Current Affairs, BBC for upcoming documentary on restorative justice, 3/4/14
Interview by Natasha Alford for Medill News Service?CAN-TV for video on potential of restorative justice to transform juvenile justice, 4/10/14
Interviewed for and quoted in obituary for Dr. Vincent Harding, AP: The Big Story ( 5/21/14

Media & Interviews 2011-2012:

Interview, “The State of Things, WUNC North Carolina Public Radio, Durham, NC 6/7/11
Interview for documentary video, South Korea
Interview with TaMaryn Waters of the Tallahassee Democrat, 9/3/11
Interview with Natalie Dohner for James Madison University, The Breeze 8/25/11
Interview with Danielle Smith, American Urban Radio Network, 9/21/11
Skype interview, Bluffton University class, 4/17/12
On-line interview, Center for Building a Culture of Empathy, posted at
Guest blog, “A Space for Wisdom,”
Guest blog, “Relationships Matter,”

2010-2011 presentations:

Opening plenary and workshop, European Forum for Restorative Justice conference, Bilbao, Spain, 6/17-8/2010
Keynote and two workshops, German Mennonite/Quaker Peace Conference, Karlsruhe (Thomashof), Germany, 11/26-11/27
Keynote and plenary dialogue, Restorative Justice Symposium, Pikes Peak Restorative Justice Council, Colorado Springs, CO 9/23-24/10
Noon lecture, Clinton School of Public Policy, Little Rock, AR, 3/4/11
Public presentation, St. John’s Diocese, Little Rock, AR 3/3/11
Public presentation, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Fayetteville, AR, 3/4/11
Sunday School and consultation, Albuquerque Mennonite Church, Albuquerque, NM, 9/19/10
Shalom Sunday School class, Parkview Mennonite Church, “Restorative Justice as a case study in engagement in the world” 1/16/11
EMU undergraduate theory class (Gloria Rhodes, instructor), 2/1/11
Speaker, Eastern Mennonite High School (Ryan Beuthin, instructor), 2/23/11
Meeting with WAGGE Hannover staff, Germany 11/23

Media & interviews 2010-2011

School Library Journal
AOL Black Voices (interviewer Jeff Mays) 1/14/11
Consciousness magazine (interviewer Lee Harris) 12/28/10
Michael Eric Dyson Show (public radio) 1/26/11:
Ebony on line 1/26/11:
Radio in Black & White, WPRR Grand Rapids, MI 2/7/11
Interview with Rosa Morales, a writer for Flint, MI-based Mi Gente magazine, and the community paper Saginaw News
American Urban Radio Networks (AURN), Danielle Smith, 2/9/11
Education Week, Elizabeth Rich, 2/9/11
The Emily Rooney Show, WHBH Boston, with Stacey Bouchet, 2/23/11
WWRL New York 3/9/11
WYPRNPR Baltimore, with Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz, 2/28/11
Inside Detroit, Mildred in the Morning, AM 1200 WCHB 4/7/11
Interviewed by Danielle Smith for American Urban Radio Network (AURN), 2/15/11
“When a Parent is in Prison,” article and slideshow, Education Week 4/13/11
Interview by Winchester Star about exhibit “Leaf. Flower. Spiral.” 2/21/11.
Interviewed by Mark Fonseca Rendeiro in Amsterdam for an article in “United Academics” as well as a podcast at 2/14/11
Guest blog contributor, International Guild of Visual Peacemakers (
Interview, Crossroad Connection, a justice radio program aired on Christian radio stations and the web. Interviewed 9/17/10.

Exhibits, Performances and Productions

Recent exhibits & projects:

“Down to the River,” 3-person photo exhibit, Lehman Gallery, EMU (with Steve Johnson and Scott Jost), 9/11
Photo Exhibit “Leaf. Flower. Spiral. The Flow of Energy in the Natural World,” with Steve Johnson and Scott Jost, State Arboretum of Virginia, Boyce, VA 2/6-2/28/11. Opening 2/13/11. (Also two-person exhibit in Harrisonburg First Friday, 5/6/11)
“When a Parent is in Prison,” article and slideshow, Education Week 4/13/11
Documentary photo/interview project, Our Community Place, Harrisonburg 4/11ff (with Daria White, Anna Maria Johnson, Nathan Toews, Shannon Pollock and Giles Charle’), to result in exhibit.
Documentary photography, Girls, Inc., Hagerstown, MD (with Jenn Dorsch), 3/28/11

Featured artist, Beyond Words: Imaging a Visual Spirituality” retreat (one forum, one keynote, one workshop), Laurelville Mennonite Church Center, Laurelville, PA 10/24-26/08.
Review and consultation of forthcoming documentary film, “Steel, Concrete, and Paint,” Mural Arts Program, Philadelphia, PA.
Remarks, book release and exhibit opening: Visual Restoration,” Mural Arts Program, Philadelphia, PA 4/17/09
When a Parent is in Prison: Documentary photo exhibit, with Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz, available for loan from Mennonite Central Committee’s Audiovisual Resource Library. A book is in process.
A ladder without rungs: exploring metaphors of trauma. Art exhibit including photos, paintings and reflections, with Judah Oudshoorn and Manas Ghanem, Eastern Mennonite University Art Gallery, 11/05. Also exhibited in Ontario, Canada March-April 2006 and Bluffton University, Bluffton, OH, Feb-March 2007. A smaller traveling version is available for loan from Mennonite Central Committee.

Church, Community and Professional Service

2013-14 includes:
Training presentation, James Madison University Judicial Affairs and Student Life, 2/27/14
Lawyer and restorative justice palaver, Harrisonburg, VA 11/22-23/13
Meetings with advisory board, alumni, faculty, staff and administrations, University of North Carolina Greensboro, 10/30/13
Participation in Harrisonburg task force on restorative justice and policing.

2011-2012 includes:

Lawyer and restorative justice palaver – organized and helped facilitate a gathering of lawyers implementing restorative justice in their practice, Harrisonburg, VA 11-13/11

2010-2011 includes:

External Review Team, James Madison University Justice Studies Program, 4/11
Ph.D. dissertation examiner, Anne Hayden, AUT (Auckland Institute of Technology), Auckland, New Zealand

Honors, Awards and Grants

Recent awards:

Mahatma Gandhi Community Service Award, Mahatma Gandhi Center for Global Nonviolence, James Madison University, 10/2/13
Virginia Social Science Association (VSSA) 2014 Public Service Award 4/19/14
Awarded Michael Sattler Peace Prize, Rottenburg am Neckar, Germany, 11/25
“Howard Zehr Award” established by the Restorative Justice Centre, Pretoria, South Africa 2/11
International Peace Award 2006, Community of Christ; Lifetime Achievement Award
Journal of Law and Religion, 2006
The Howard Zehr Award (first annual award)
Restorative Justice Association of Virginia, 2005
Annual Peacebuilder Award, New York Dispute Resolution Association, 2003
Restorative Justice Prize, Prison Fellowship International, 2003.

Professional Memberships

International Advisory Board, “Restorative Justice: An International Journal”
Editorial board of the book series “The liberalization of law: from repression to charity,” by the publisher-house “Aletheia”, St. Petersburg, Russia
Advisory board of The Paragate Project on forgiveness.
Advisory group for the Scientific Society of Restorative Justice (Spain).
International advisory board of forthcoming referred journal Ubuntu: Journal of Conflict Transformation of the School of Politics, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa.
Victim Advisory Group of the U.S. Sentencing Commission 2008-2011

Member: National Center for Victims of Crime; Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences; Justice Studies Association.