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Definitions of

Key Words

ACCOUNTABILITY

Accountability:

To accept responsibility for one’s actions.

CIVIL VIOLATION

Civil Violation:

A civil violation complaint includes traffic violations, municipal ordinance violations, and fish and wildlife violations. The Vermont Judicial Bureau has statewide jurisdiction over civil violations. Civil violations are not criminal offenses. However, the court reports civil violation judgments to the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles and/or the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department.

CONFIDENTIALITY

Confidentiality:

Ensuring that sensitive information will be kept secret with access limited to appropriate persons.

CRIMINAL LEGAL
SYSTEM

Criminal Legal System:

Another term for the Criminal Justice System that many people believe conveys a more accurate definition of system that is unjust, or a system that provides justice for some and not for all.

INCARCERATION

Incarceration:

The state of being confined in prison or jail.

LAW ENFORCEMENT

Federal, state, and local agencies charged with protecting public order through the use of the coercive power of the state.

OFFENDER/
PERPETRATOR

Offender/Perpetrator;

Someone who commits crime, creates harm, and/or other acts of wrongdoing. In restorative justice terminology, the phrase “responsible party” is used instead.

RECONCILIATION

Reconciliation:

The act of resolving conflict to restore peace and harmony to a relationship or community. 

RESTORATIVE
PRACTICES (RP)

Restorative Practices:

An umbrella term for processes that proactively build healthy relationships and a sense of community so as to prevent and address conflict and wrongdoing. RP represents a paradigm shift that focuses on the harm done, rather than the rule broken, in the restoration of relationships. (Source: International Institute for Restorative Practices)

RE-ENTRY
PROGRAMS

Re-entry Programs:

The supported processes through which a person released from prison adjusts back to living in the community.

VICTIM:
STATUTORY
DEFINITION

Victim: Statutory Definition:

A person who sustains physical, emotional or financial injury or death as a direct result of the commission or attempted commission of a crime or act of delinquency and shall also include the family members of a minor, incompetent, or homicide victim.

AFFECTED
PARTY

Affected Party:

Any person, business, school, or community partner who has been impacted physically, emotionally, mentally, or financially by a crime, harm, or conflict. This word may be used interchangeably with “victim” and/or “survivor.”

CoSA

COSA:

The Circles of Support and Accountability program based on the restorative justice model of assisting incarcerated individuals in re-entering the community. Trained COSA volunteers work in teams of three to five and meet weekly with the core member to support them in returning to the community and managing day-to-day life.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE
SYSTEM

Criminal Justice System:

The system used for apprehending and trying those accused of crimes, and sentencing and incarcerating those found guilty of crimes. 

DIVERSION

Diversion:

A process by which a responsible party for a crime is allowed to avoid the courts by taking accountability in other ways such as discussing the impact of their actions with the community, participating in counseling or substance-abuse treatment, and/or completing community service. If the responsible party successfully completes a Diversion program, the offense may be removed from their record.

INDICTMENT/
CHARGE

Indictment/Charge:

A formal legal document charging a person with a criminal offense. Someone who is indicted has been charged with a crime. 

PARALLEL
JUSTICE

Parallel Justice:

A program and process of centering the victim/survivor of crime, harm, and violation, regardless of whether the offender/responsible party is known, apprehended, or charged. This work is parallel to (but independent from) the criminal legal system. Assistance can include emotional support, safety planning, information and referrals to other organizations, or even financial assistance to meet basic needs.

RESPONSIBLE
PARTY

Responsible Party:

A person who commits a crime and/or  harm. This is a term used to replace the word “offender” or “perpetrator” in restorative justice terminology. The responsible party may also be referred to as the “participant” throughout the restorative justice process.

RETRIBUTIVE/
PUNITIVE
JUSTICE

Retributive/Punitive Process:

 A process and practice of justice that views crime as a violation against the state, for which the person responsible should pay a penalty or suffer punishment (often a fine, correctional supervision, or incarceration). The current legal system in the United States is an example of this model.

SPECIALIZED
COURTS

Specialized Courts:

Courts that focus attention on specific types of offenders, such as assessing those who have substance use problems or mental health needs, and referring them to treatment and other services as an integrated part of the adjudication and sentencing process.

VICTIM:
RESTORATIVE
JUSTICE
DEFINITION

Victim: RJ Definition:

Any person, business, school, or community partner who has been impacted physically, emotionally, mentally, or financially by a crime, harm, or conflict. This word may be used interchangeably with “affected party”.

ARRAIGNMENT

Arraignment:

The formal reading of criminal charges against a person, often in front of the accused. At an arraignment the accused person is given the opportunity to plead innocent, guilty, or as otherwise allowed by law. Bail is often set at this proceeding, as is a referral to Court Diversion.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Criminal Justice:

The system used for apprehending and trying those accused of crimes, and sentencing and incarcerating those found guilty of crimes. 

CRIMINAL JUSTICE
DIVISION

Criminal justice Division:

In a criminal case, a person is accused by the state of Vermont of violating or breaking a state law. The criminal division of the Vermont Judiciary handles cases involving felonies, which are the most serious crimes, and misdemeanors, which are less serious. The criminal division may take on the most serious cases from other divisions, such as fish and game and traffic violations. The criminal division is also known as criminal court. The court determines the guilt or innocence of a person charged with a crime through jury trials, court trials, and guilty pleas.

DLS

DLS:

The civil Driving with a License Suspended program is designed to help people regain their driver’s license while they pay off their fines and fees.

LISTED OFFENSE
LISTED CRIME

Listed Offense/Listed Crime:

A felony, rather than a misdemeanor, crime. Listed Crimes include stalking, domestic assault, sexual assault, murder, aggravated assault, kidnapping, unlawful restraint, reckless endangerment, burglary into an occupied dwelling, and others. A complete list of Listed Crimes is detailed in Title 13 of the Vermont Statutes.

PRETRIAL SERVICES
PTS

Pre Trial Services/PTS:

This court-ordered and self-referred program is for adults with substance use or mental health treatment needs who are going through the court process and awaiting final case resolution. It offers participants preliminary screenings focusing on mental health, substance use, and risk of non-appearance/risk of re-offense as well as rapid connection to area services.

RESTITUTION

Restitution: Compensation agreed to be paid by the responsible party to the victim/survivor of the crime. This can include money for property loss, medical expenses, costs of counseling, etc. Restitution holds the responsible party financially accountable for the harm that they caused. (Please refer to the Community Justice Center’s Restitution Policy for specifics.

RESTORATIVE
JUSTICE

Restorative Justice:

A process and practice of justice that emphasizes repairing harm, wherein crime and conflict are seen as a violation of relationships. Restorative Justice has three main objectives: to understand the harm that is caused by crime to individuals and the community; to explore ways in which the responsible party can make amends to anyone who was impacted; and for the responsible party to move forward and work towards positive goals for themselves. The fundamental questions of Restorative Justice are: Who has been harmed? How can these harms be addressed or repaired? Who should address or repair the harms?

TAMARACK
PROGRAMS

Tamarack Programs:

A diversion program for adults charged with a crime who have a substance use or mental health treatment need. Participants in this program are quickly referred to service providers and when appropriate, referred to restorative processes as part of taking accountability for their actions

YOUTH SUBSTANCE
AWARENESS SAFETY
PROGRAM
(YSASP)

Youth Substance Awareness Safety Program (YSASP) is designed as a way to hold young people accountable for breaking the law against underage drinking and possession of marijuana (an ounce or less), to educate them about the consequences and risk of substances, and to identify youth with potential substance abuse problems so they might receive treatment. Participants pay a fee, meet with a licensed or certified substance abuse counselor for a screening or assessment (and must follow the recommendations of the counselor), and may participate in an educational program and perform community service. Participation is voluntary.