Sonya Shah

Sonya Shah, MFA

Associate Professor
Bachelor's Completion Program

5th Floor
CIIS Main Building
1453 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

Sonya Shah, MFA, is Associate Professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS).  She is also the Justice Program Director at Insight Prison Project and responsible for the oversight of the Victim Offender Education Group (VOEG) program. Sonya serves on the leadership team for Californians for Safety and Justice and was recently elected to the EJUSA advisory board based in New York.

Sonya has been teaching social justice education and developing curriculums for 18 years. In all group facilitation, Sonya creates learning environments that: reflect values of equity; nurture the unique perspective of each participant; build collective and community-based knowledge; challenge oppressive assumptions and structures; and expose students to new ways of thinking through contact with new knowledge, belief systems, theories and practices.   Sonya brings this approach to her teaching at CIIS.

At Insight Prison Project, Sonya leads and facilitates restorative justice oriented programs to incarcerated populations where she brings an integrated approach to understanding root causes of violence, inclusive of interpersonal and structural influences.

Sonya earned a BA from Brown University and an MA in Film & Video from the Art Institute of Chicago. She was awarded the prestigious Fulbright fellowship and Jacob Javitz fellowship.

In conjunction with her work in the restorative/criminal justice field, Sonya has appeared on a number of radio broadcasts including KPFA, KALW, NPR and KQED as well as some print articles. Her most recent essays have been published in The Alembic and Sou'wester. She has produced programming for KQED Public Radio and Television in San Francisco. Her documentary, Khmer Barbee (formerly Something between Her Hands) is distributed by the National Film Network and has screened in over seventy film festivals, conferences and colleges.

Sonya Shah's CV.


CIIS is playing its part to break the cycle of discrimination. We're giving formerly incarcerated men and woman a chance to earn their undergraduate degree through the Arc of Justice Scholarship Program in the university's Bachelor of Arts Completion Program. Our goal for this scholarship program is to raise $200,000 to fund 10 scholarships.
Please watch this video to learn more from CIIS professor Sonya Shah and a CIIS alum, Luis Aroche, who was formerly incarcerated.

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Media Interviews and Reviews on Restorative Justice:


KPFA Radio. La Raza Chronicles. "What is restorative justice? How does the Victim Offencer Education Group (VOEG) work?" Producer: Julieta Kusnir. Reporter: Gary Malachi Scott. 7/22/2014

New York Times. "By Talking, Inmates and Victims Make Things 'More Right'." Reporter: Dina Kraft. 7/5/2014 VOEG receives a mention in the article.

Making Contact Radio. "Restorative Justice: Reconciling Face-to-face." Making Contact is an award-winning, 29-minute weekly magazine/documentary-style public affairs program heard on 140 radio stations in the USA, Canada, South Africa and Ireland. Producer: Jasmin Lopez. Reporter: Andrew Stelzer.

KMRW Radio. Pieces of Peace. Interview on restorative Justice. Producer and Reporter: Susan Santiago. 2/6/2014


KALW Radio. Crosscurrents. Interview for show on restorative justice. Exec. Producer and Reporter: Holly Kernan. Web Writer: Jasmin Lopez. 10/7/2013

KALW Radio. Your Call. Guest for one-hour show on restorative justice. Exec. Producer and host: Holly Kernan. 9/25/2013. Web Interview. Interview on public safety and restorative justice. Reporter: Mike Luery. 9/2013.

2013 TELEVISA Chihuahua. Reporter: Adriana Ruiz. Television interview for one-hour program on restorative justice. In collaboration with US State Department/ May 2013.


Today on Your Call: How does restorative justice work in California? >>