Photo by Jim Sheridan
How to Become Involved
Make a referral
If you or someone you know is in conflict and could use assistance, call the MCJC to discuss how the Conflict Assistance Program
Spread the word
Host a presentation about Restorative Justice for your organization.
Support the concept of Restorative Justice
Let your City Councilor, State's Attorney, and legislators know that you support restorative responses to crime in which the voices of victims and the community are heard and valued.
Submit your ideas
Is there something you believe the MCJC should be doing? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Make a donation
Support a special project that is as yet unfunded, such as the Community Service Club, Victim Liaison, etc.
Volunteers are our greatest asset. The MCJC relies on skilled, trained volunteers to provide many of our services . Dozens of citizens give their time every year to staff and promote our programs. Volunteers serve as members of the Citizen Advisory Board
, Restorative Reentry's Circles of Support and Accountability
(COSAs), Reparative Boards
and occasionally as mediators and facilitators for community forums. The MCJC needs community members who are willing to deliver restorative justice in the Montpelier area by giving five to eight hours a month for at least a year to serve on a Reparative Board or a COSA. All volunteers are provided initial and ongoing training and support.
"Why we are all here is that we volunteers feel the great truth about life is
that we are in this life together."
Reparative Board Members are volunteers from all walks of life who serve on a working citizen board. These board members conduct meetings with people who have been sentenced to Reparative Probation for (primarily)misdemeanor offenses. The focus is on the harm that was caused to victims, who are invited participate, and the community by the actions of the probationer. The informal, structured conversation in these meetings among Board members, victims and the person who committed the offense leads to a plan of activities for the person who offended to make amends to those they hurt, restore relations with the community, and keep from committing future offenses. For a commentary on the Reparative Board process that aired on VPR in 2008, see http://www.vpr.net/episode/42776/
Circle of Support and Accountability volunteers provide group mentoring, with specific objectives and guidelines, to help a person who has committed a serious and violent offense become a productive, safe citizen upon release from prison. A COSA includes three to four volunteers, the reentry participant (core member), and a staff person. COSAs meet weekly and volunteers are encouraged to maintain other contact individually, according to their comfort level. This support encourages the core member to engage in healthy recreation, overcome addictions, find employment, keep appointments, etc. Staff ensures a coordinated effort with the probation officer, treatment providers, family members, and others involved in the core member's life.
Effective volunteers are:
- Broad minded Able to see and appreciate complexities inherent in a situation
- Victim sensitive Willing to confront criminal thinking and victim-blaming
- Compassionate Understanding and caring about people who are victimized and able to be empathetic with someone who has done wrong
- Reliable Accustomed to following through on commitments
- Self-regulating Able to take care of themselves emotionally and respond rather than react
- Good humored Comfortable with using humor to get through tough and serious situations
- Balanced Skilled at seeing multiple sides of a person or situation
- Encouraging Able to recognize, acknowledge, and nurture strengths