Restorative Justice Panels
Panels are a restorative alternative for individuals charged with a crime (the responsible party). They are made up of teams of 3-5 trained volunteers who meet with responsible and impacted parties, to address the harm caused by “low-level” crimes (such as disorderly conduct, forgery, fraud, retail theft and unlawful mischief). The panel's mission is to hold the responsible party accountable for the effects of their actions on others. Our victim liaison makes every attempt to contact the impacted parties to explain our process and support his/her/their participation to whatever extent they are comfortable.
The panel discusses the circumstances and impact of the crime and ways the responsible party can avoid making similar mistakes in the future.
For certain crimes, law enforcement has some discretion in directly referring cases to the CJC. In other cases, the state’s attorney decides whether to refer the person out of the court system to the community-based Court Diversion program. Judges can also refer cases as part of a sentencing order where the responsible party is jointly supervised by the Department of Corrections and the Reparative Service Unit. Once the program has been successfully completed, the participant’s record can be expunged (in the case of Diversion). While contracts are individualized to each participant and their specific needs, some contracts may include restitution, apology letters, reflective essays, or referrals to other community support agencies.
For more information about participating in the panels, please contact Becky Penberthy at (802) 730-2406 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about volunteering, please contact Rachel Jolly at (802) 865-7185 or via email at email@example.com .
For a visual description of Court Diversion programs.