Joel Friesz - E.D., National Assn. for Community & RJ
Joel Friesz was introduced to the field of restorative justice in 2005 and felt an immediate connection. His introduction was by way of his role as a part-time restorative conferencing facilitator serving victims of crime and youth involved in the juvenile justice system. The part-time position soon led to a full-time vocation in which Joel led a statewide team of restorative justice facilitators and other juvenile justice professionals for 13 years at a statewide non-profit
agency in North Dakota.
During those years, Joel and his team worked extensively with communities across North Dakota to implement restorative practices into K-12 education, the
juvenile justice system, adult corrections, higher education, and other workplaces. Joel experienced his first circle in 2008 and has been an avid student and advocate of the process ever since. If you know Joel, you likely know of his love and special reverence for circle, and if you’ve ever been in circle with Joel during a values discussion, you have heard him speak
of his mother, Judy, who deeply shaped and influenced his core values. Joel has been practicing circle for over 14 years and continues to learn about and deepen his relationship with the process.
In addition to his work with restorative justice, Joel provides training and coaching on implicit bias, bullying prevention, impacts of trauma and adversities in youth, LGBTQ+ advocacy, and sexual assault and domestic violence prevention. Joel is a nationally certified Green Dot Bystander Intervention Community Instructor for reducing power-based personal violence and served for three years as a Facilitator of Sexual Assault Prevention and Advocacy for North Dakota State University. For the past 10 years Joel has been involved with efforts to address disproportionate minority contact (DMC) in North Dakota justice systems and completed the Reducing Racial & Ethnic Disparities in Juvenile Justice Certificate Program at Georgetown
University in 2016.
Joel serves on several local and state committees including the North Dakota Juvenile Justice State Advisory Group, a position he has held since 2013. In 2020, Joel completed a yearlong formation process to become an Associate of Sisters of the Presentation which binds together his longstanding regard for spirituality, justice, and peace. Joel was elected to the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice (NACRJ) Executive Team/Board of Directors
in 2017 and served in that role until his appointment as NACRJ Executive Director in January 2022.
Joel received his bachelor’s degree from North Dakota State University (Fargo, ND) and holds a master’s degree in Strategic Leadership from University of Mary (Bismarck, ND). Joel always appreciates a good book recommendation to add to his reading list and enjoys spending time running, doing yardwork, and traveling with his partner Charles. A lifelong North Dakotan, Joel has resided in Fargo for over 20 years.