"Victims" and "Offenders" as we understand them in our criminal justice system are often portrayed and understood as black and white agents engaged in clearly definable roles with prescribed punitive and retributive solutions.

However, the question of how to foster security in society however, is an elusive one - can incarceration and punishment alone build safer communities and address the underlying causes for destructive conflict between people? Can restorative justice keep those who commit violent or criminal acts accountable for their actions?

The process of addresssing crime and helping criminals and victims move become reconciled, not only to the themselves and the law, but to each other, is an incredibly compex converstion with no easy answers.

Face2Face is a Conversation Series put on by staff and faculty of Canadian Mennonite University in collaboration with students and guests hosts seeking to engage the Winnipeg community on current affairs and ideas in society as they interface with the intersection of faith and life. Next week will see the latest in its panel-driven discussions, titled "Restorative Justice: Soft on Crime or Building Community Security?"

The discussion features an eclectic mix of voices from three guest panelists and one of CMU's own. Here are the contributors to the discussion taking place next Thursday:

Bob Chrismas - Currently still serving as a staff sargeant with the Winnipeg Police Department, Chrismas' 25 years on the beat have given his academic ventures into police and conflict studies a unique background and starting point.

Jay-Young Lee - Once a border patrol officer with the South Korean army, Young-Lee's experiences led him on a journey to investigating Anabaptism and restorative justice on this side of the Pacific. He returned to his home country and now works in Seoul in restorative justice intiatives.

Lisa Phommarath - Herself a victim of a violent home invasion dealing with its ongoing implications, both personally and legally, Phommarath is involved with Voices of Resilience, a support group for victims, and an inmate visitation program at Stony Mountain Penitentiary.

Wendy Kroeker - Kroeker is a professor of Peace and Conflict Transformation at CMU and will also be contributing to the evening's conversation.

Here is CMU Assistant Professor of Communications and Media and Face2Face moderator David Balzer discussing the event and the incredibly rich but perplexing conversation it is diving into.

"Restorative Justice: Soft on Crime or Building Community Security?" takes place Thursday, Nov. 13 at Canadian Mennonite University. Like all Face2Face Conversation events, the free event is open to all to attend and participate in. You can find more information on the event here.