CRJ offers a full continuum of alternative community justice programs.
School-based Programs- RAP
RAP, or Restorative Alternative Program, is CRJ’s school-based program which is designed to provide early intervention restorative justice services to help support young people succeed in school. Students identified to have broken school rules or who have committed chargeable offenses on school grounds may be offered this program as an alternative to school punitive sanctions.
CRJ collaborates with schools throughout Bennington County to assist students and their families overcome barriers to school attendance. The program is designed to work with students whose chronic truancy issues have not responded to school interventions. CRJ’s Truancy Project is offered as a final option to the student and his/her parents as a way to address and correct truancy problems before their case is filed with family court. Through identifying barriers, case management, community resources and integrating contract conditions students are supported to successfully attend school on a daily basis.
Court Diversion is a community-based alternative to the formal court process and gives an offender a chance to make amends to those who have been affected by their actions. Restorative justice panels hold offenders accountable to victims and the community. Court Diversion is a confidential and voluntary program that results in the offender’s record being sealed upon successful completion of the program. Click to learn more about Vermont Court Diversion.
Youth Substance Abuse Safety Program (YSASP)
The focus of YSASP is to help young people (age 16 – 20) who have been civilly cited for underage drinking or possession of marijuana get proper screening, education and treatment for identified substance abuse problems. Once a young person successfully completes the program their civil ticket is voided. This is a voluntary program; individuals who choose not to participate in the program face a $300 fine from the State of Vermont, 90-day license suspension with a $80 re-instatement fee, dramatically increased insurance rates, and civil conviction on their driving record.
Civil DLS Diversion Program
This Diversion Program is designed to help people regain their driver’s license while they pay off their fines and fees. Participants work with a CRJ case manager to develop a contract and payment plan that is presented to the Vermont Judicial Bureau (VJB) for review and approval. Some people may be eligible for a reduction in their debt, and some may provide community service and/or participate in an educational program in exchange for a reduction in fines and fees owed. Upon successful completion of their contract, an individual’s prior suspensions are removed from their record.
Juvenile Restorative Programs
The Juvenile Restorative Probation Program (JRPP) provides restorative justice panels and restitution case management to youth on probation. Restorative justice panels hold youth accountable to victims and their community. Case Managers provide follow-up services to assure that restorative conditions of probation are completed. In addition, the program provides young offenders with an opportunity to increase their skills and participate in a variety of community activities.
Juvenile Direct Court Referral Program is program offered to youth as an alternative sentence set by the Family Court Judge. Youth may be adjudicated in Family Court, but not placed on probation. The youth participate in a restorative justice panel, learn new skills and repair harm caused to their victims.
Community Support and Supervision (Street Checker Program)
This program provides progressive levels of community support and supervision for at-risk youth or for youth who are on probation. Community case managers provide home-based support such as curfew checks and assuring youth’s activities are consistent with probation conditions. This program offers youth opportunities to build their skills and successfully re-integrate into their own communities.
Life Skills Development
CRJ offers a wide array of skill building opportunities. Groups vary throughout the year and cover topics such as anger management, conflict resolution, impact on victims, self esteem, peer pressure, substance abuse and more. Individualized life skills instruction is available year-round.
Time-limited, one-on-one mentoring services are offered to youth in need of positive adult role modeling and social skill development. Mentoring case managers typically work with a young person for 2 -3 months, then connect youth with long-term mentoring and recreational resources if needed.
SHOP afterschool program is open Tuesdays from 2:30 – 4:30 PM. Teens between 15 and 18 years old are invited to stop by CRJ. Activities, snacks and homework help available. Special events are scheduled monthly and include guests, movie nights, etc. All teens welcome!
Adult Restorative Programs
Reparative Probation Program is a program offered to adults through Criminal Court as a condition of their probation. Restorative justice panels run by trained volunteers, provide an offender the opportunity to take responsibility for his/her actions and repair the harm caused to victims and communities.Offenders who participate in this program must accept responsibility for their role in the crime that was committed.
Direct Referral Reparative Program is offered to offenders convicted in criminal court, but are not placed on probation. Participants meet with a restorative justice panel to discuss the impact of their crime and develop a contract that helps make amends to their victim and community. Only those offenders who take responsibility for their crime qualify for the program.
Suspended Fine Program is a program which provides an alternative sentencing option with a fine reduction upon successful program completion.
Community Reentry Program
The Reentry Program provides intensive case management services to help individuals who are returning to the community from incarceration. Providing support to individuals who are struggling to reintegrate into the community is the key to their success. Areas case managers focuses on include housing, employment, pro-social leisure activities, transportation, connection to community resources and mentoring.
Circle of Support and Accountability (CoSA)
Guided by CRJ’s reentry coordinator, a team of trained community volunteers help support individuals returning to the community from incarceration meet the challenges of everyday living and learn ways to become a productive, contributing member of the community. In addition to supporting the individual to successfully reintegrate into the community, volunteers help guide the offender to make amends to those impacted by
Safe Driving Program
The Safe Driving Program (formally the Victim Impact Panel Class) is designed to teach about the human consequences of unsafe, impaired, and/or distracted driving. Participants learn about how unsafe driving affects them, their family and community members. They learn about how decision points relate to driving, and external and internal factors influence motivation for change. To sign up for the class email Kim Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org
Risk Reduction Program
The Risk Reduction Program’s goal is to reduce the prospect of offenders committing new offenses, known as recidivism. The program is offered daily at Bennington Probation and Parole and uses an evidence-based curriculum to help program participants develop prosocial skills in an effort to reduce recidivism.
Expungement Program (For convictions under age 25)
In July 2015, the VT legislature passed Act 36 to allow people with certain criminal convictions (that occurred under the age of 25) to file a petition with the court to have their record expunged. CRJ provides assistance to individuals with the petition process. CRJ verifies and approves the completion of a term of employment or public service of the person petitioning for expungement under this Act and, after the applicant successfully meets with a restorative justice panel, generates a recommendation for approval, according to the provisions of Act 36.
Individuals cited or arrested in Bennington County for eligible misdemeanor or felony charges may volunteer to be screened by CRJ’s Pretrial Monitor prior to their first appearance in court. Individuals have the right to speak with a lawyer first. The Pretrial Monitor offers participants three confidential screenings focusing on mental health, substance use, and risk of non-appearance or threat to public safety. The specific details of the assessments will not be shared with the prosecutor or the court. The Court and State’s Attorney (prosecutor) may review a summary of the results, if the client gives their consent. This information may be used to recommend a case for pre-charge programming, monitoring support or for determining bail or conditions of release.