Saint Albans Community Justice Center
26 Catherine Street
Saint Albans, Vermont 05478
The mission of the Saint Albans Community Justice Center is to build a safe community where people are accountable to each other. The Justice Center listens to offenders, victims/survivors, and other affected parties; facilitates meaningful amends and change; and addresses conflict through community education, shared power, and respectful dialogue.
The Justice Center currently has two programs in operation. First, the Justice Center coordinates four reparative probation boards. The boards meet monthly and are led by 16 community volunteers. Second, the Justice Center is launching a new truancy program in collaboration with the Franklin Central Supervisory Union. With this program, schools will refer children who have more than ten days of cumulative absences (instead of sending an affidavit to the State’s Attorneys Office). The referred children and their families will participate in a Family Group Conference to address the underlying issues contributing to the truancy.
In preparation for this program, the Community Justice Center worked with local schools and key stakeholders to streamline and coordinate a unified response to persistent absences. This collaboration has produced a truancy protocol that is being implemented at the three participating schools.
The Justice Center is also in the process of developing several other new programs. First, the Center recently acquired the capacity to conduct community mediation. Over the course of the next six months, staff will develop protocols with city agencies and the police department to offer mediation services that reduce the demand for police response. Once in place, the Justice Center will offer a new tool to resolve persistent neighborhood and community conflicts.
Second, the Justice Center is working with local stakeholders to develop a Parallel Justice Program. This program will serve Saint Albans victims of crime, (most likely of unsolved property offenses). As a recent survey indicated, Saint Albans has a crisis of victimization; crime touches a large percentage (45%) of the local population.
Third, the Justice Center is working with the Department of Corrections to strengthen community understanding of offender reentry. Over the course of the next year, the Justice Center will host multiple forums to share information and dialogue around offender reentry. The first conversation will be with local landlords. The goal is to increase housing options for people under DOC supervision and reduce the number of Franklin/Grand Isle offenders who are “stuck” in prison due to lack of housing (at tremendous expense to the state).
Other potential long-term Saint Albans initiatives include restorative panels/services within the local school system and a direct referral program.
Each of these programs and services seek to achieve three overarching goals; increase the safety of local residents, reduce stress on local and state services, and build a more restorative and responsible citizenry.