Discovering Justice Events

  • Restorative Justice: Community Healing at the Federal Level

Restorative Justice: Community Healing at the Federal Level

Wednesday, December 8, 2021 | 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM | Virtual and In-Person

Discovering Justice’s Executive Director Matt Wilson facilitates a conversation on the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts’ restorative justice program, one of the only federal-level restorative justice programs in the United States. Panelists discuss the impact restorative justice has had on their lives, the use of restorative justice at different levels and in different systems, and the expansion of restorative justice practices at the Massachusetts District Court beyond the RISE program. The panel is an opportunity to listen to personal stories of community healing, to learn about the prospects for expanding restorative justice practices, and to ask questions about these practices of responding to harm.

If you would like to volunteer in the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts’ Restorative Justice program, please reach out to Maria D’Addieco at 


U.S. District Judge Leo T. Sorokin | The Honorable Leo T. Sorokin is a graduate of Yale College and Columbia Law School. He clerked for the Honorable Rya W. Zobel (D. Mass.), worked as an associate at Mintz Levin, was an Assistant Attorney General at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, and served as an Assistant Federal Public Defender in Massachusetts. He became a United States Magistrate Judge in 2005, and was appointed to his current position on the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts in 2014. Judge Sorokin leads the District of Massachusetts’s pioneering Restorative Justice program. He also developed and presided over the District of Massachusetts’s Court Assisted Recovery Effort (CARE), a program for individuals with histories of drug abuse who are reentering the community after serving federal sentences, from 2006 until 2014. He has served as a faculty member of various educational programs sponsored by the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the Federal Judicial Center, the Federal Bar Association, and the Boston Bar Association. He also has taught trial advocacy at Boston University Law School. In 2009, the Boston Bar Association awarded Judge Sorokin its Citation of Judicial Excellence.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James Herbert | Jamie is a career federal prosecutor, having joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston in 1990 after private practice with Davis Polk in New York. He started in the Organized Crime Strike Force Unit and served as the Chief of that unit, which later became the Organized Crime and Gang Unit, from 1996-2013. He served as Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division from 2013-2018. Since then, he has been assigned to the Major Crimes Unit, prosecuting child exploitation cases, and more recently to the Health Care Fraud Unit. Jamie has facilitated restorative justice circles in Massachusetts state prisons since 2016 while also assisting with the federal court’s restorative justice programming. A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Virginia School of Law, he has received training from the International Institute of Restorative Practices and Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding.

Probation Officer Maria D’Addieco | Maria V. D’Addieco is a Senior U.S. Probation Officer at U.S. Probation & Pretrial Services in the District of Massachusetts. In addition to being a senior probation officer, with experience in community supervision and federal sentencing investigations, she developed and oversees the District’s Restorative Justice program. She is an experienced facilitator and program developer and has 17+ years of experience working with restorative practices in various settings, including community and family settings, with incarcerated populations, within government systems, and throughout criminal proceedings. Ms. D’Addieco was previously employed at the Department of Children and Families in Massachusetts, as an Investigator, Family Circle and Group Conferencing Coordinator, and Supervisor. She also has a keen clinical background, having been a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW), providing individual and family therapy in both private practice and community health care settings. Ms. D’Addieco has an undergraduate degree in Politics and International Relations from St. Anselm College and a Master of Social Work from Simmons College. She has been an engaging and passionate presenter and guest faculty member at many events.

Defense & Civil Rights Attorney Jessica Hedges | Jessica has been a criminal defense and civil rights lawyer for more than 20 years. She is a founding partner of the firm Hedges & Tumposky, LLP. Much of Jessica’s professional life is inspired by her conviction that over-reliance on incarceration is a source of social ills rather than a remedy for them. Thus, in addition to traditional advocacy, she devotes significant professional energy to supporting, developing, and teaching about meaningful alternatives to incarceration. She is a trained restorative justice facilitator, who developed and taught the course “Restoration and Resistance, International Innovations in Criminal Justice” at Boston College, where, for the past fourteen years, she has also taught the course “Studies in Crime and Social Justice”. Additionally, at the request of the Court, Jessica represents all participants in the Court Assisted Recovery Effort (CARE). Jessica was selected by the United States District Court of Massachusetts to be the Chair of the Criminal Justice Act Board, which contributes to overseeing the attorneys who accept court appointments on behalf of indigent defendants. 

Participant Tavon Robinson | Tavon Robinson was raised in Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan at a time when crime was at an all-time high in the city. His large family was full of love, but struggled with profound poverty and serious substance abuse disorder. His early life was profoundly impacted by community violence – he lost all of the men in his life, most of them to violence, before the age of 13. His first arrests were around the same age. After a long journey, involving multiple convictions and long state and federal prison terms, he was introduced to restorative justice, which transformed his life. He is now a small business owner, an active father of 4-year-old twins, an engaged member of his community, and an advocate for restorative justice.

Victim Participant Robyn Houston-Bean | Robyn Houston-Bean is the founder of The Sun Will Rise Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting the community with issues related to substance use. The foundation provides grief support groups for loss due to substance use, helps with education, prevention, and awareness, and provides scholarships to sober living. The foundation was started after Robyn’s twenty year old son died due to overdose in 2015. She is also a member of the Massachusetts Opioid Prevention Collaborative, the Quincy Opioid Task force, the Weymouth Drug Addiction Resource Team (DART) program, The Braintree Community Partnership for Substance Use, and is a consultant for Support After a Death by Overdose (SADOD).


Executive Director Matt Wilson | For more than three decades, Matt Wilson has built and run community-based initiatives for a healthier and more vibrant Massachusetts. As a nonprofit executive, community organizer, public advocate, fundraiser, and trainer, Wilson has worked with residents to help them envision, realize, and build their capacity and power for change. Wilson was the founding Executive Director of MASSCreative, the statewide advocacy voice for Massachusetts’ arts, cultural, and creative community. Under his direction, MASSCreative grew to more than 400 organizational members with 25,000 individuals taking part in public education and advocacy actions. In his tenure, arts funding in the Commonwealth doubled and his advocacy work helped implement state policies to increase access and participation to quality arts education. As the Director of Toxics Action Center, Wilson built the organization from scratch into a New England-wide resource for hundreds of neighborhoods working to protect themselves from environmental pollution threats. Wilson graduated from Dartmouth College and earned a Masters of Public Administration at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Kayla Nordman

Kayla Nordman believes strongly in expanding access to comprehensive civic education to provide the next generation with the resources they need to uphold and expand upon the values of American democracy and create a more equitable future. Before joining Discovering Justice, she worked as a Legislative Intern at the Massachusetts State House and as a Program Manager for the Massachusetts Center for Civic Education. Kayla graduated from Suffolk University with a BA in International Relations.