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Lindsey Pointer ’13 Wins Fulbright to Study in New Zealand

Lindsey Pointer '13 has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study restorative reintegration and rituals of re-entry in New Zealand.

In her proposal, Pointer, who graduated cum laude with a degree in religion, notes that American society uses rituals of conviction and expulsion to label deviance, but lacks rituals to signal apology, forgiveness, and reintegration into the community. In New Zealand, a global leader in restorative justice, reintegration through restorative justice mechanisms is increasingly being used with positive impacts on recidivism and community perception of ex-inmates, she said.

"Given the promise of this model and dearth of research on its potential in the United States, this project aims to investigate the structure and effectiveness of different reintegration models, paying particular attention to ritual components that signal lifting of shame and reacceptance into society," Pointer said. "Restorative practices continue to expand throughout the criminal justice system and school disciplinary arena. Through these efforts, a new focus on 'restorative reintegration' is emerging. Contrary to the retributive model, restorative reintegration creates partnerships that promote positive social interaction, support, and accountability for the offender, enabling a more successful transition."

While at Colorado College, Pointer received a Venture Grant to study the integration of indigenous spiritual practices in restorative justice in Hawaii. "The research I completed through my Venture Grant contributed to my senior thesis, which examined restorative justice through religious studies theoretical lenses," she said. Her progression in the field continues with being a recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship.

Pointer currently is the senior bilingual case coordinator at Longmont (Colorado) Community Justice Partnership, a nonprofit that provides restorative justice services to the Longmont community and schools.

"I am excited to expand my understanding of the impact of restorative practices through the opportunity to study in New Zealand, where these practices are well-established and integrated into the justice system," she said.

Pointer applied for a 2014-15 Fulbright and got as far as the "alternate" status. She reapplied last fall and this time was selected as a recipient.

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