Community Restorative Justice Panels and other RJ practices:  The Restorative Justice Panel is a volunteer group of citizens from the Greater Essex Area, including Underhill, Jericho, Westford, Colchester and Milton who work with offenders and victims involved in locally perpetrated crime.  The purpose of the Panel is to support victims and provide offenders with the opportunity to acknowledge their wrongdoing and to make amends to individuals affected by the crime and the community.  In more complicated cases, the CJC and its volunteers are able to offer Restorative Justice Conferences or Circle Process.

Victim Support: Volunteers and staff provide support to victims of crime in our catchment area. We are able to work with victims in many ways, including providing victims the opportunity to meet with those who committed the crime, describe the impact, and request actions from the offender aimed at repairing the harm they have experienced.

Conflict Resolution Strategies:  CJC staff and volunteers are available to help community members, local officials, and the local police department address community conflict and safety concerns before a crime is committed, including neighborhood conflicts and landlord to tenant disputes. These strategies may include mediation, facilitated group meetings, and individual consultation.

Community Dialogue and Crime Prevention:  Through its partnerships with other community organizations, the CJC develops education programs and facilitates community discussions about crime prevention and safety issues of concern to Essex residents.

Safe Driving Program: Essex CJC collaborates with the South Burlington CJC to offer Safe Driving in Chittenden County. The program provides educational classes designed to teach participants about the human consequences of unsafe, impaired, and/or distracted driving. Program goals focus on understanding the impact of our actions, taking responsibility and changing behaviors to be the safest driver possible. Safe Driving is offered in locations across Vermont through a partnership between the Community Justice Center Network of Vermont and the Governor’s Highway Safety Program.

Please read the Safe Driving Program Expectations Sheet for more information on registration and participation.

Community Connections

The Essex Community Justice Center provides Reentry services for returning offenders in order to increase community safety and support citizens in being active and positive members of their community.

  • Community Transition Program: The Essex CJC Community Transition Program is designed to support offenders who are leaving incarceration and reentering their communities.  This program serves Offenders in their first 90 days of community living after being incarcerated.  Staff at the CJC are trained to provide resource navigation, individual support and community connections to folks trying to be successful in their lives.  The CJC CT Program provides skill development, social activities, access to trainings and CJC events, and specific support and referral in areas of job search, housing search, treatment referral and assessing how the community can best identify and meet needs not met by other service providers.  Tangibles including bus pass, clothing and furniture vouchers, and other resources are available once an offender has established a pattern of positive engagement in our program.

  • Ongoing Support Program: The Essex CJC Ongoing Support Program is aimed to provide ongoing support to clients who need help maintaining their progress in the community post-incarceration.  Those who may struggle weeks, months or even a year after reentry may need a higher level of support if there is a life event that adds extra stress including loss of job, complicated living situations or increased risk of criminal behavior.  Clients enter this program after completion of their 90 days in the Community Transition Program, or can enter post incarceration if they move into the Essex area.  Staff at the CJC will meet with clients regularly to support them in areas of need identified by the client, CJC or Probation Officer. In the OS Program, we focus on deepening a persons roots in the community and establishing a natural support system through individual meetings and community activities.

  • Restorative Support Program: The Essex CJC Restorative Support Program uses a restorative circle of volunteers to help support a client struggling in the community post-incarceration.  Like our COSA program, the Volunteers are trained and ready to support an individual who may be struggling with a specific issue or who may be at risk for going back to prison.  This program requires a self referral, or referral from a supervising PO.  The circle may meet one time to help a client problem solve a specific situation, or may meet several times to help a client through a tough time or transition.  The circle will support, brainstorm and help a client hold themselves accountable for patterns of thinking and behavior that may have a negative impact on their life.  

  • Circle of Support and Accountability (COSA) Program: The Circle of Support and Accountability (COSA) is an evidence-based model of engaging with someone who is coming out of incarceration, who wants to change and be a law-abiding citizen and who is at risk to re-offend because of a lack of support from friends, family, and their community.  The primary focus of a Circle of Support and Accountability is “no more victims.”  A COSA team includes 3-5 community volunteers and a CJC staff member.  This team meets with the offender (called a “core member”) weekly to support and hold them accountable.  These conversations may include talking about daily struggles, anticipating challenges, and providing role modeling of behavior and positive activities.  Volunteers, over time and after building trust, may engage in one on one mentoring activities with a core member if appropriate.