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portrait of John Byrd

John W. Byrd

NACRJ honors the memory of John W. Byrd with the biannual Education and Training Award for Community and Restorative Justice in his name.

John W. Byrd had an incurably positive attitude and modeled selflessness, humility, kindness, commitment to family, self-reflection, and genuine concern and respect for others. These attributes were magnetic and served as guideposts to many. He had a way of making everyone feel important. John wanted to improve society and envisioned what could be.

In 2001, John was at a National Institute of Corrections seminar on restorative justice on September 11 when the Twin Towers fell. Two attendees lost family members that day. That week was a galvanizing experience for John. He committed his professional and personal life to broadening the use of restorative justice in Texas and across the nation.

As a faculty member at the University of Texas at San Antonio, John introduced students to theory and research on restorative and community justice. His students learned to think critically about the justice system and consider the potential of restorative and community justice to prevent crime, reduce recidivism and promote higher quality of life in communities.

He used the emerging research to train practitioners and educate the community about the potential of restorative and community justice to provide more effective responses to crime, treatment of offenders under supervision, and reentry programming. For several years he led an effort San Antonio Restorative Justice Community Initiative which resulted in: a two year community education project; the creation of a community reentry roundtable and the development of neighborhood based applications of restorative and community justice principles and practices; and, the 1st National Conference on Restorative Justice in 2007.

John brought out the best in those around him and left the world a better and more positive place. He worked tirelessly to build a better, safer and more livable society.

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