The mission of the Orleans County Restorative Justice Center is to encourage and support the community to deal with conflict and crime restoratively. We believe that an effective, committed community is our best tool, and we train community volunteers in restorative justice and conflict resolution practices.
Programs and Services
Restorative Victim Services
Victims are invited to participate in all restorative justice programs to the extent that they feel comfortable.
Restorative Justice Programs
Restorative justice programs allow for direct community involvement in the resolution of criminal offenses through participation in Restorative Justice Panels, restorative conferences and/or restorative circles. People directly affected by a crime have an opportunity to participate in a justice process where they can articulate their needs, ask questions, seek restorative actions and receive support from their community. Those responsible for a crime can learn about the harm, make amends, and build a positive connection with their community.
Restorative Reentry Programs
These programs enhance community safety as people return to their communities from prison. Services offered include facilitating dialogue between inmates and family to promote healing and reintegration and the opportunity to learn new skills and make amends.
Those who have committed serious offenses join a Circle of Support and Accountability (COSA), a personalized network of community members who volunteer their time to support the person’s actions as he or she builds a crime-free life.
Community Conflict Assistance
This program facilitates dialogue related to neighborhood and community issues. Professional mediation services help community members talk about and find solutions to their conflicts, which may involve such issues as noise, pets, boundaries, and landlord-tenant disputes.
This popular monthly discussion project for the community, funded and organized by OCRJC, has been running successfully for more than two years.
Drug Take-Back Program
We are active in the county-wide drug take-back program with local law enforcement and pharmacies. There is often new and innovative work being accomplished through these projects, and also through our primary partner, the Vermont Department of Corrections.
OCRJC partners with a number of regional organizations, including Newport Community Garden, Northeast Kingdom Learning Services, Umbrella, Northeast Kingdom Human Services, Northeast Kingdom Community Action, the Department for Children and Families, Newport Probation and Parole, the NEK Department of Health, and a host of others.
We offer ongoing volunteer training.
We host occasional community forums on matters of local interest or contention.
We plan to launch a low-cost or pro bono legal clinic.