Faculty Spotlight- Shannon Sliva
Newest CRI-affiliated Professor, Dr. Shannon Sliva has always been interested in the intersection of social work and criminal justice. As most social scientists gravitate towards vulnerable populations, such as children, refugees and the elderly, Dr. Sliva argues that incarcerated groups are among the most marginalized and susceptible, due to their co-occurring risk factors, legal disenfranchisement, and social stigma. She gave a TedX talk during TEDX MileHigh this year about the innovations of restorative work within criminal justice systems, which can be viewed at http://bit.ly/SlivatTedXTa
While working on her doctorate, an article on Victim Offender Dialogue was shared with her. She realized that restorative justice was the means to bring the humanizing values that she emphasized into incarcerated populations. "Restorative Justice" Dr. Sliva states, "provides us a framework for shifting the way we interact with harm." Dr. Sliva studies how restorative justice policies and legislation are adopted, and then either shelved or implemented. She looks for determinants at the state level to find patterns and trends in the adoption and implementation of restorative justice practices, one of which is Victim Offender Dialogue. Dr. Sliva describes Victim Offender Dialogue as a practice which creates space for an authentic human exchange in the wake of violence and serious harm. She emphasizes how dialogues offer healing for both the victim and the offender, who often understand the traumatic event, each other, and themselves differently afterward.
Dr. Sliva is also passionate about the intersection of restorative justice and the arts within incarcerated groups. She is on the faculty advisory board of the DU Prison Arts Initiative, which promotes access to high-quality therapeutic arts programs to incarcerated people in Colorado with the goal of empowering individuals to improve the quality of their lives and prepare to make positive changes in their communities upon release.
Dr. Sliva teaches Restorative Justice, Philosophy of Social Sciences, and other courses related to restorative work in incarcerated populations and social issues. She also co-authored "The State of the State: Restorative Justice in Colorado" for Colorado's Restorative Justice Council for June 2019. Check out her other work here: http://portfolio.du.edu/ssliva.