Hafsteinn (Haddi) G. Hafsteinsson has been working as Project Manager for the Implementation of Restorative Justice (RJ) and Conferencing into the Criminal Justice System (CJS) of Iceland at the Ministry of Justice since August 2005. Starting at a Reykjavik police station, he started by trying to find the best approach or model on how best to implement RJ into the CJS of Iceland. In Reykajavik, trained police officers lead conferences with the victims, offenders and families.
Haddi is currently exploring the theoretical processes while mediating in the CJS, training policemen and working with an organization called Real Justice in monitoring the quality of conferencing facilitators in the CJS. He is expected to complete his thesis on the evaluation of the implementation of restorative justice and conferencing in Iceland in March 2010.
He attributes his success to his studies at DU, "The study of the theories regarding different ways of dealing with conflict and how they can be put into practice, especially in seeing how in class." He was able to get the position he has now because he knew restorative justice.
Haddi also gained real-world experience as an intern at the Conflict Center and as a volunteer at Face-to-Face mediation, both here in metro Denver. As his studies developed, Haddi contacted the Ministry of Justice about sponsoring his thesis. A few months later, the Ministry approached Haddi about the position he now holds. Haddi's Advice to Students: "Try to put as much of what you learn into practice. Theory becomes more interesting when you are practicing; they reinforce each other and enrich the learning. Just reading and studying will not work.
Volunteering at Faceto- Face, while taking courses and learning about theory made for a much richer graduate experience. Plus, it is easier to find a good job with more experience. "The courses that were specific to conflict resolution were more valuable than courses offered in other schools, particularly Tamra's course on conciliation and reconciliation. Things learned in these courses are a reason why Iceland is using conferencing instead of mediation in their restorative justice program."
-- Autumn Gorman