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Social justice expert Molly Rowan Leach to present lecture

Restorative justice advocate and College of Idaho alumna Molly Rowan Leach ’96 will return to campus this week to present a special Brain Food lecture on the importance of rehabilitation in criminal justice.

Leach’s lecture, “From Punishment to Restoration: How Justice & Mercy Merge and Prove a Viable Path Forward,” will begin at 8 p.m. on Thursday, August 31 in Jewett Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public, with refreshments provided.

After graduating from the College with a Bachelors of Arts, Leach has gone on to become the founder, executive director and host of “Restorative Justice on the Rise,” a free weekly telecast serving as a public forum to discuss justice transformation in the United States and beyond. Now in its third season, Leach has interviewed numerous national leaders in restorative change on her program, including Steve Korr, Dr. Carl Stauffer and The River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding.

In addition to her work on “Restorative Justice on the Rise,” Leach is also co-director of Full Circle Restorative Justice, a non-profit organization based in Chaffee County, Colorado which allows victims of crime to meet with their offenders in a controlled, safe environment, helping to bring closure for victims and greater understanding for the offender. Her written works have appeared at Truthout.org, Open Democracy, YES! Magazine and Daily Good, in addition to blog posts with the Huffington Post and an appearance in the Oxford University anthology “Current Debates in Peace and Conflict Studies.”

“If political will is any indicator of a significant change in course as it concerns our approach to justice, then the United States is amidst one of the most significant transformations that could keep us from collectively sailing off the edge of the earth,” Leach wrote for the Huffington Post. “The tide of justice being called for is one of accountability, data that cannot be denied, and a hope for the future of this country as it steers away from its global reputation as the incarceration nation.”

Leach’s lecture on Thursday will center on the work of Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative, who was the author of this year’s First Year Experience book “Just Mercy.” Leach will weave Stevenson’s ideas and America’s state as the “incarceration nation” with “promising and viable solutions that are in action nationwide that employ restorative justice.”

For more about Leach and the concept of restorative justice, visit www.restorativejusticeontherise.org.

The College of Idaho has a 125-year-old legacy of excellence. The C of I is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, four NFL players and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom.  For more information, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.