Jenifer Lee-Gonyea, associate professor of Criminology at Mount Saint Mary College, was recently selected as a Rockefeller Institute Fellow for 2020-2021.
The mission of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government is to improve communities, local and state governments, and federal systems by finding solutions to the nation’s most pressing issues. The institution was founded in 1981.
“I am really excited to be given the opportunity to be part of the Rockefeller Institute and participate in various activities related to my expertise in Criminology and the criminal justice system,” said Lee-Gonyea. “I don’t think there is enough diversity in the voices that discuss these issues and I’m so proud and honored to have been selected to lend my voice to the discussion.”
One of Lee-Gonyea’s main areas of academic research is restorative justice, which focuses on relationships between community members. When a crime is committed, the victims, offenders, and members of the community work together to find a solution that repairs, as much as possible, the harm done.
Restorative practices use dialogue, mediation, and other means to provide those who have caused harm with the ability to make it as right as they can, and to give those who have experienced harm an ability to be heard and participate in the process. Used to address crime, restorative justice seeks to involve each of the stakeholders who are important to the resolution. Restorative justice holds offenders accountable for their actions, while also helping them to reintegrate into the community after their responsibilities to the victims and community have been met.
The issues important to incarcerated women, newly released women, and formerly incarcerated women “are important and need the attention of policymakers,” said Lee-Gonyea.