I’m here today to support with strong qualifications RB 6374 — An Act Concerning Sexual Misconduct on College Campuses. My name is Cindy Prizio and I am the Executive Director of One Standard of Justice (OSJ), a statewide civil rights advocacy organization. OSJ works with men and women arrested or convicted of sexual offenses and their families. I also identify as a member of a justice impacted family on both sides of the sexual offending issue.
In particular our testimony is about Sec. 2 – a through b which describes suggested membership on the Council.
We suggest the language in the bill be amended to include a primary stakeholder who will represent the person accused of the misconduct. We further request that OSJ be the organization appointing this individual to the Council. The Council is already large in its proposed membership so one more should not be an issue. We can’t help but observe there are some stakeholders with many seats at the table. The Coalition to End Sexual Violence has three appointees — one from urban, one from rural so we could take the third spot here.
OSJ’s primary role is one of education. We introduced the first vicarious restorative justice conference back in April 2019 conducted by three national experts who identify as having been harmed sexually. Our webinar on April 12, 2021 will be Experience from Practicing Restorative Justice for Sexual Harm: Trauma, Justice Needs, Participant Satisfaction, Equity, Law, and the Future.
We strongly encourage this committee to include looking at campus sexual assault through a restorative lens. A restorative practice is to ensure all voices are heard, all stakeholders are at the table. Restorative justice provides true accountability which is responsible for changing behavior unlike punitive models. It allows correction, reparation and healing for all including our communities. People who identify as having been harmed sexually have utilized restorative justice successfully around the country.
One of our mantras is do no more harm. A restorative lens or approach will honor this along with a host of other values which will teach rather than shame. Typically these behaviors are transitory and do not continue.