Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Where are you located and do you have parking?
A: Our address is 200 Church Street, on the corner of Church and King Streets in downtown Burlington (the current Burlington Telecom building). Unfortunately, we do not have a parking lot of our own, but there is metered and non-metered parking within a two-block radius.
Q: What is restorative justice?
A: We’re glad you asked. Take a look at this page.
Q: What’s the difference between Community Justice Centers and Court Diversion?
A: Court Diversion is a program, outlined in Vermont law, through which people take responsibility for their unlawful act as an alternative to the traditional court process. Community Justice Centers (CJC's) are the broader umbrella structures under which a range of services are locally provided. In seven counties, including Chittenden, Court Diversion is provided by a CJC. Vermont's 20 CJC's provide an array of services, varying by center, funded by the Department of Corrections. These include pre- and post-conviction restorative panels as well as services for people returning to their community after incarceration. Some CJC's provide additional services through other sources of funding. Court Diversion is provided in all counties and is funded by the Attorney General’s Office; this funding also supports the civil DLS program, the Youth Substance Abuse Safety Program, Tamarack, and Pretrial Services. Court Diversion and many services provided by CJC’s rely on community volunteers and use restorative justice principles.
Q: Help! The underage drinking ticket I received says I need to be in touch with you in 15 days. I’ve called and left a message but haven’t heard back from you and the clock is ticking!
A: Don’t worry! By calling us and leaving your name, date of birth, phone number and the town in which you received the alcohol or marijuana violation, you’ve done what you need to do to stop that “clock ticking.” We may be still waiting to receive the actual ticket and paperwork from the issuing Police Dept. and so you may wait as much as a few weeks to hear from us. One of our staff members will be in touch.
Q: I’m having an ongoing argument with my neighbor. Can you help?
A: Potentially! We have a trained mediator on staff, Barbara Shaw-Dorso, whom you can contact at firstname.lastname@example.org . While we don’t have the capacity to take all cases, we can discuss the specifics with you, refer out when appropriate, and in some cases, potentially mediate a case with you here.
Q: I successfully went through Court Diversion and now am enlisting/applying to work/school. Do I have to disclose my record?
A: If you successfully completed your Court Diversion process, your record was sealed or expunged and you don’t need to disclose it in most cases such as apartment rental and most job applications. However, there are some exceptions that can vary by state. When applying for state-issued professional licenses (such as applying to practice law), when applying for federal and some state’s law enforcement positions), when applying for public office, when buying a firearm or applying for a concealed carry permit, or when applying for a school-related job, you may need to disclose. To find out more, you can consult an attorney or visit VT's Legal Help website.
Q: Can you help me with housing?
A: While we don’t offer housing services, we can point you to organizations that do. If you are recently released from prison, we can offer some help through our Community Re-entry Services.
Q: I want to sign up for the Safe Driving class. Can you help me with that?
A: The Burlington CJC does not offer the Safe Driving class, however you can visit our Events page to find Chittenden County classes. Contact the person referring you (us, your lawyer, probation officer, etc.) to sign up.
Q: I was referred to a panel. How long does an intake take? How long might the entire process take?
A: An intake generally lasts an hour. The entire process generally lasts between 3-4 months, but can vary somewhat depending on your ability to complete your contract requirements and our scheduling availability.
Q: A cop gave me a bunch of paperwork when I was caught drinking underage. What am I supposed to do now?
A: You probably will be referred to our Youth Substance Abuse Safety Program but you also might have a ticket about misrepresenting your age/using a fake ID. We’ll talk with you more the next steps for each. Give us a call! Contact Balla at 802-735-8275 or email at email@example.com
Q: I’m a victim of a crime but don’t know what is being done with my case.
A: We are so sorry you experienced this. If you were the victim of a crime and/or harm in Burlington and it was reported to the police, our Parallel Justice program staff should be in touch with you within a week of the incident. If you didn’t report to the police, or haven’t yet heard from Parallel Justice, they are available to help you with resources, support, and information about your case and the aftermath of the crime. Anthony Jackson-Miller at (802) 540-2394 or firstname.lastname@example.org If you were a victim of a crime outside of Burlington, our Parallel Justice staff can help you find resources in your area.
Q: I’m a victim of a crime who was referred to your panel process. I want to participate but I’m not sure I can be in the same room with the person responsible. Can I still participate?
A: Victim participation is entirely voluntary and you will have a victim liaison to support you through the process. You can learn more about restorative justice here and parallel justice here. Restorative justice is about promoting understanding and communication between the person responsible for the crime, the person(s) harmed by the crime (if they choose), and the community together in dialogue. There are several potential benefits of participation for the victim. It can allow you to hear what was going through the offender’s mind at the time of the incident and what he/she/they has/have thought about since; you can have an opportunity to share how the incident affected you; and you can ask questions of the offender to help you understand just what happened and why. If you do not want to participate in person, other options are available to you including sharing your story in writing and/or having your victim liaison capture and share your perspective with the panel. Please contact Barbara Shaw-Dorso at