Community Restorative Justice Seeks Volunteers

restoratie justiceST. JOHNSBURY- The Community Restorative Justice Center is need of almost 70 volunteers to spend a year helping recently incarcerated citizens find their footing again and to live a crime free life. Volunteers are an important aspect of this program as the center relies on them to work with high-risk offenders. According to Executive Director, Susan Cherry; the main goal of having the volunteers work with them for a year is to help Vermonters feel safer, and to help the former inmates find their place after leaving jail.


Cherry also believes that this program will help prevent the inmates or as the center calls them 'Core Members' from reverting back to a life of crime upon their release. "People who go through a restorative process are less likely to reoffend, they are not going back to jail," says Cherry.

The center offers one on one counselling as well as providing a weekly, Circle Of Support And Accountability for the Core Members to adjust to society again. COSA meets once a week and volunteers and Core Members meet together to discuss how their week went, what they did and what difficulties they faced during that week. This allows the center to see where the problems lie and how to fix it. It also allows volunteers to say what would make them and the community feel more safe.

The Community Restorative Justice Center bases this idea on ancient civilizations. Cherry states, "If you can picture early civilizations, the Agrarian societies where people needed to solve their own problems within the community, because everybody is needed in the community, to work in the community. Somebody cannot leave the community because everybody is needed, to they need to repair that harm within the community. We are trying to go back to that kind of model, to say how can we help everyone to see that they are needed in this community."

For anyone who wishes to become a volunteer at the center, they can call 802-748-2977.