Mel Motel, Director
Mel joined the Brattleboro Community Justice Center as Director in August 2017 after fifteen years of work in Restorative Justice, social justice, and education. Mel is not new to the BCJC, however: she moved to Vermont in 2006 to help build the BCJC’s Restorative Reentry Program as an Americorps VISTA and then as the BCJC’s Reentry Program Coordinator. In 2013, Mel founded the Just Schools Project, where she worked with more than a thousand adults and youth in K-12 schools to implement restorative practices programs. She has also taught the Community and Restorative Justice course in the Community College of Vermont’s Criminal Justice Program. Mel sees her work both at the BCJC and in her life outside of it as building restorative communities: where all people get what they need and where we ourselves have the skills to respond to and transform harm within our own relationships and communities.
James Cecere, Restorative Re-Entry Coordinator
Jim has held a range of positions and careers throughout his professional life from owning a chain of ski shops to retaining an auto leasing company as well as a business acquisition firm. However, Jim’s proudest accomplishments involve his work with Vermont Vocational Rehabilitation and with the Brattleboro Community Justice Center. He spent nine years with Vermont Vocational Rehabilitation helping people break down barriers to employment and the last five here, at the BCJC as the Restorative Reentry Coordinator. “After getting my Masters in Marketing/Finance and starting my own business, I am ashamed to say that I did not give Restorative Justice a moment of my time,” Jim said. “Meeting Larry Hames (the former director of the BCJC) opened my eyes to a world that I knew nothing about. I now see the importance of Restorative Justice in the community and am extremely grateful for the opportunity to spread reparative ideals through my work at the BCJC.”
Emmett Wood, Intern
Emmett Wood is a senior at Marlboro College where they study sociology and journalism, and plan to go on to study immigration law. They became involved in restorative justice in high school where they participated in restorative panels and aided in the creation of their school’s disciplinary program. Emmett currently works between the Brattleboro Community Justice Center and the State’s Attorney’s Office as well as at Marlboro as a writing tutor. In their spare time Emmett enjoys playing guitar, cooking, and being outside.
Deborah Lee Luskin, Chair
Deborah taught both reading and writing programs to incarcerated women at Windsor Corrections Facility and to men at Southern State Correctional Facility through the Vermont Humanities Council in the mid-2000s. “It’s some of the most meaningful teaching I’ve ever done,” she said. “I figured there had to be a better way; I discovered there was. I started volunteering at the BCJC in 2007, first on a rep panel and now on the Board.” Deborah writes in an 8’x10’ studio heated by a tiny wood stove, splitting wood into very small pieces between paragraphs. She is a commentator for Vermont Public Radio, a novelist, a pen-for-hire, a public speaker and an educator.
“What’s spare time?”
Meg Mott, Vice Chair
Meg became interested in Restorative Justice while working as a Court Advocate for the Women’s Crisis Center (now the Women’s Freedom Center). Her job was to provide support for women abusive situations. At the time, it was generally accepted that the best solution was putting abusers in jail. Eventually, she began to realize that “incarceration was creating its own difficulties.” When Meg got a job at Marlboro College, she became interested in how Restorative Justice might offer an alternative to Title IX campus disciplinary panels. Although the idea was considered taboo, she saw better opportunities for parties in a case involving ambiguous sex than in a highly-regulated procedure in which both complainants and respondents often felt completely misunderstood. Meg received her PhD in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, her dissertation discussed the function of reconciliation in the Spanish Inquisition. She currently teaches politics and law at Marlboro College. Meg has said that her “happiest moments involve the construction of sentences.”
Bruce W. Dayton has been active in conflict transformation, crisis management, and leadership training for over twenty years as a practitioner, a researcher, and an educator. His interest in Restorative Justice relates to his commitment to understanding ways that communities and social groups can communicate about and heal deep divisions across racial, socioeconomic, and ideological boundaries. Bruce currently serves as Associate Professor of Conflict Transformation and Peace building and Director of the CONTACT Peace building Program at the School for International Training / SIT Graduate Institute. He holds a PhD in Political Science from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. Bruce enjoys hiking, playing guitar, and visiting new places.
Following a 30 year long career in corporate America, Mike has spent the last 20 years in the not-for-profit and public school sectors doing work in Restorative Justice. This has included working with homeless families, people reentering the community from prison, people referred by the court system, teenagers going to drop-in centers for help, and most recently, kids trying to adjust to middle and high school environments. In his spare time he enjoys family activities, bike riding, hiking, roasting coffee, and playing classical guitar.