Volunteers are our greatest asset! The BCJC relies on 35-40 skilled, trained volunteers to provide many of our services. These trained community members give their time to carry out and help promote our programs. Volunteers serve as members of the Restorative Reentry’s Circles of Support and Accountability (COSAs), Reparative Panels, volunteer mediators, and as facilitators for Community Group Conferences.
Volunteers are provided initial and ongoing training and support.
Effective volunteers are:
Able to see and appreciate complexities inherent in a situation
Willing to confront criminal thinking and victim-blaming
Understanding and caring about people who are victimized and able to be empathetic with someone who has done wrong
Accustomed to following through on commitments
Able to take care of themselves emotionally and respond rather than react
Comfortable with using humor to get through tough and serious situations
Skilled at seeing multiple sides of a person or situation
Able to recognize, acknowledge, and nurture strengths
Reparative Probation Panelist
Reparative Panel Members are volunteers from all walks of life who dedicate 2 hours one evening each month to serve on a community reparative panel. Panelists conduct meetings with people who have been sentenced to Reparative Probation for (primarily) misdemeanor offenses. The focus is on the harm that was caused to victims, who are invited to participate, and the community by the actions of the probationer. The informal, structured conversation in these meetings among Panelists, victims and the person who committed the offense leads to an agreement of activities and plan of action for the person who offended to repair the harm to those affected parties, restore relations with the community, and keep from committing future offenses.
For a commentary given by one of our volunteers, on the Reparative Probation process that aired on VPR in 2008, see http://www.vpr.net/episode/42776/
Circle of Support and Accountability volunteers provide group mentoring, with specific objectives and guidelines, to help a person who has committed a serious and violent offense become a productive, safe community member upon release from prison. A COSA includes three to four volunteers and the reentry participant (core member). COSAs meet weekly and volunteers are encouraged to maintain other contact individually, according to their comfort level. This support encourages the core member to engage in healthy recreation, overcome addictions, find employment, keep appointments, etc.
The Citizen Advisory Board provides oversight to the Brattleboro Community Justice Center, its activities and goals, assuring that the restorative justice needs and wishes of the greater Brattleboro area are carried out within the capabilities of the Justice Center.
- Collaborate with the Director of the Center to develop and publish an annual plan which coincides with the prescribed fiscal year.
- Evaluate the progress of written goals on a semi-annual basis.
- Assure appropriate community representation on the CAB as specified in the Department of Corrections operating grant.
- Establish CAB operating guidelines and submit to Town Manager for approval.
Record minutes of each meeting of the CAB and forward to the Town Manager.
- Review and endorse the yearly budget prepared by the Director, which is subsequently approved by the Town Manager.
- Assist the Director in seeking and applying for grants that support the goals of the Brattleboro Community Justice Center.
- Identify other areas of revenue to sustain the BCJC.
- Verify that the services required by the DOC operating grant are implemented to include:
- Mediation services
- Community Forums
- Pre-sentence or Direct Referral from Police
- Reparative Probation
- Prison Reentry Services (post incarceration)
- Survey the diverse citizenry of Brattleboro for input and design of future programs and services.
- Recommend people to sit on Reparative Panels and Circles of Support and Accountability.
- Represent BCJC to various constituencies as needed or appropriate.
- Provide information and education to state legislators and congressional delegation to help assure informed decision making around bills affecting BCJC.
- Participate in Volunteer Appreciation events held semi-annually.
- Assist the Director in presenting grant applications at town Selectboard meetings, as appropriate.
If you are a trained mediator and are interested in volunteering your services to the community through the BCJC then please contact us at (802) 251-8142 or at email@example.com
Other ways to get involved:
Make a referral
If you or someone you know is in conflict and could use assistance, call the BCJC to discuss how we can help.
Spread the word
Host a presentation about Restorative Justice for your organization.
Support the concept of Restorative Justice
Let your City Councilor, State’s Attorney, and legislators know that you support restorative responses to crime in which the voices of victims and the community are heard and valued.
Submit your ideas
Is there something you believe the BCJC should be doing? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Make a donation
Support a special project that is as yet unfunded, such as the Community Service Club, Victim Liaison, etc.