(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University criminology and criminal justice professor Alison Burke attended a United Nations conference in Vienna, Austria, last month to present her research on restorative justice to an international panel on crime prevention and criminal justice.
Burke was invited to the 32nd session of the U.N. Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice – one of two policymaking bodies within the U.N. that guide international action on drugs and crime. Resolutions and decisions developed by countries’ delegates provide guidance on crime and justice issues to United Nations member states and to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime.
Burke and two other criminal justice academics from the U.S. – Stephanie Mizrahi, Ph.D., of California State University-Sacramento, and Angela Henderson, Ph.D., of the University of Northern Colorado – were invited to the U.N. session by Phillip Reichel, Ph.D., a representative of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, an American organization. Their presentations were made to a side panel organized by the ACJS.
The three U.S. criminologists discussed “Amplifying Victims’ Voices to Enhance the Functioning of the Criminal Justice System,” and Burke’s particular presentation was “Harmed People Harm People: Seeing the Offender as the Victim Through a Restorative Lens.”
The three were also invited to participate in other commission sessions as observers.
Burke, who has been an SOU faculty member for 15 years, served in a variety of juvenile justice positions before earning her doctorate from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2008 and shifting her career to higher education. Her research interests include gender and juvenile justice, and delinquency prevention.
She created and teaches the classes for a Certificate in Restorative Justice at SOU, and also serves as a community restorative justice facilitator for the Emerging Adult Program in Deschutes County.
“I was able to apply outcome data from their EAP program to my (United Nations) presentation on incorporating restorative justice practices and show how restorative justice programs can be immensely effective and applicable worldwide,” Burke said.
“And thanks to students who are interested in learning more about alternatives to incarceration and reframing the punitive nature of the current criminal justice system, I get to teach restorative justice classes full of robust conversations, insightful and inclusive discussions, and true community building within the classroom setting.”
Burke was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to lecture and teach a course on women and crime in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2019.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of New Mexico and her master’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Colorado at Denver. She has also studied at England’s Oxford University.
Her work has appeared in publications including the International Journal of Gender and Women’s Studies, the Journal of Active Learning in Higher Education and the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry. She has authored the books “Gender and Justice: An Examination of Policy and Practice Regarding Judicial Waiver,” published in 2009 by VDM Publishing; and “Teaching Introduction to Criminology,” published published in 2019 by Cognella Press.