| Photo by Jim Sheridan
Programs and Services
The restorative approach to conflict and crime emphasizes repairing the harm done to people and relationships rather than assigning blame and doling out punishment. This approach is based on the premise that conflict provides an opportunity to promote civic engagement, build community, and restore relations.
Restorative Justice Alternative:
People who commit certain lower level offenses are referred to the MCJC's Restorative Justice Alternative Program for a restorative justice process. The Restorative Justice Alternative Program
results in a quick, low-cost resolution where matters are typically settled for all concerned.
People sentenced to Reparative Probation meet with a Reparative Board
to engage in a dialogue with their community and affected parties in order to deepen their understanding of the harm, make amends to people who need it, create a positive connection with the community, and engage in activities that lessen the likelihood of repeating the offensive behavior. Victims and other affected parties are welcomed into the process.
The Restorative Reentry Program
helps former prisoners successfully reenter their communities and become responsible citizens. Participants are matched with a group of 3-4 trained citizen volunteers to form a Circle of Support and Accountability (COSA). This group meets regularly for at least the first year of reentry. COSA volunteers provide emotional and practical support for the participant to help him or her become a productive self-supporting citizen, manage the everyday challenges, and be accountable for safe and responsible living. See http://digital.vpr.net/post/addressing-recidivism-community-0 for a discussion of COSAs in Vermont.
Crime Victim Support:
Restorative justice practices are victim-centered
. Victims of crimes are contacted and offered ways to participate in the Restorative Justice process in a way that is comfortable for them.
Conflict Assistance Program:
The Conflict Assistance Program
provides trained mediators to help neighbors work through problems and find solutions to conflicts.
The MCJC presents conflict skills development classes, community forums, and workshops on topics related to crime and conflict to increase citizen capacity to manage individual disputes and be informed participants in resolving community problems.