Janice Jerome is a practitioner, mediator, and professional genealogist as well as an expert trainer in the Texas model of restorative discipline. She received the 2015 National Leadership Award from the National Association for Community and Restorative Justice (NACRJ). She is the founder and CEO of the Restorative Justice Institute of Atlanta, LLC. She also established “Spaces in the Rainbow,” a workshop for youth and parents to have a space for meaningful communication. Spaces in the Rainbow received a 2017 grant from NACRJ for its summer workshops, which are free to families. She is a native of Atlanta (the Pitsburgh neighborhood), Georgia. As a community leader and activist, Janice has been working in and with governments for more than twenty-five years. She earned her MA in public administration and her BA in computer science from Troy State University in Troy, Alabama. She has been a paralegal, mediator, certified anger management specialist, professional genealogist, and restorative justice consultant. She was the recipient of the 2005 Romae Powell Management award and the 2006 Director Award from the Juvenile Court Association of Georgia. Janice worked with the United States Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review, Immigration Court in Miami and Atlanta, and the Clayton County (Georgia) Juvenile Court. Janice is the former editor and advisor to the Georgia Trained Peacemaking Circle Newsletter. In addition to coordinating and facilitating numerous Circles nationally, she has conducted trainings in diverse settings: for juvenile court staff, corporate management and employees, county school teachers and administrators, faith-based leaders, adult probation officers, managers, and staff. She is the mother of three and grandmother to one.
With the support of BP Oil and the Kennesaw State University Conflict Resolution Division, Janice served as the Peacemaking Circle Manager for the Juvenile Court of Clayton County. At the juvenile court, she supervised court and probation officers, mediators, and truancy officers in the intake and diversion division.
"'There Is No Place Like Home!': The Secret That Restored Me" (with Jessica A. Hicks)
Janice Jerome explains how working in restorative justice helped her embrace a difficult past—an embrace that has become a source of agency for her. Not unlike other People of Color and Indigenous Peoples who may have internalized shame about a childhood community, Jerome carried shame about her hometown for decades. Jerome’s formative years had aspects to it that many People of Color and Indigenous Peoples recognize: kinship and extended families who defined neighborhoods, participated in child-rearing, and helped to shape her identity. Yet, Jerome’s childhood also reveals how the structural violence that communities of color and Indigenous communities face can be internalized and then projected outward toward members of the community, including one’s own family.
Eventually, Jerome created her own organization that employed restorative justice. In doing so, she inched closer to embracing her origins and identity. Though she posed questions to others about their personal story or journey, Jerome would not fully divulge her own. Finally, she accepted an invitation to pilot healing Circles in three communities, one of which was Pitsburgh. This pilot program addressed trauma-related issues, and Jerome could speak to these issues using restorative approaches. Her return to the place of the original trauma and violence triggered her emotionally and unlocked the shame— as well as the secret that kept it there. The Circle process and her commitment to the restorative work brought her full circle.