Thom Allena

Thom Allena is a community and organizational psychologist who for nearly thirty-five years, has worked in the fields of community and restorative justice. His creative approaches in responding to crime, violence and group conflict bring together his extensive experience applying group dynamics together with the seemingly divergent theories and practices of depth psychology and social justice. Thom’s work in the field of community justice field has focused on building capacity in communities and, in effect, getting justice out of courthouses and into neighborhoods. Using this construct, citizens are invited to play active rather than passive roles in determining the shape of justice and become more directly involved in redressing the quality of life issues that are breached by crime. Imagine if you can, the neighborhood as the principal mechanism for sentencing low-level offenders where repairing harm to victims, reestablishing trust in neighborhoods lost through crime, and building personal and group competencies takes precedence of traditional judicial sanctioning practices. For offenders, imagine accountability as being directly responsible to those you have harmed rather than to impersonal representatives of a system. These results are being achieved daily through programs such as community justice centers, community accountability boards, reparative panels and other community-centric alternatives to traditional justice. Thom’s restorative justice work with juvenile and criminal justice systems has pioneered the use of large group sentencing circles and restorative conferences to address crimes ranging from non-violent incidents of delinquency to large and impactful acts of community violence. Thom has also collaborated with a state corrections department and several communities to develop a reparative reentry program for women returning to their communities following periods of state prison incarceration. In this approach each participant had access to a reparative panel consists of trained citizens who were intimately involved in supporting her return to her home community. Thom has also worked with numerous universities and school systems to integrate restorative practices into their existing student and faculty disciplinary and conflict approaches. Two of the restorative “frontiers” involves Thom’s work universities to implement restorative practices inside of intercollegiate athletics and within medical school and hospital communities. Thom teaches in the Peace and Justice Studies Program at the University of New Mexico and in the graduate program of Depth Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpinteria, California. Read more about Thom and his work at LinedIn

Restorative Practices: A Toolbox for Turbulent Times

Conversation with Thom Allena About every six weeks for the last five years, John and Peter have hosted online / dial-up conversations with community-building pioneers as their guests. For their May 8, 2018 dialog they invited Thom Allena to talk...

Restorative Practices

As political and community discourse grows increasingly more divisive, many of our institutional responses to conflict and violation seem to escalate fear, estrangement and regrettably, a desire for retribution. In instances of protracted conflict and violation, where do we...

A New Paradigm for Responding to Athletics and Sportsmanship Violations

In the December 2017 issue of Athletics Administration, Thom Allena explains how restorative practices were an effective way to deal with off-field misconduct by student-athletes in a Power Five football program. Read the full article here.