Restorative justice is a collaborative, inclusive process that aims to build understanding, encourage accountability, and provide an opportunity to make things right when harm has happened. Although recently popularized in Western approaches to criminal justice reform, particularly in response to mass incarceration, restorative justice has deep roots in indigenous peacemaking. Global indigenous communities have a long-standing history of living in alignment with what we now refer to as restorative justice. Some examples of this are family clan councils and circle sentencing.
All of the Community Justice Centers throughout Vermont strive to broaden and strengthen Vermont’s restorative practices. Our work focuses on sharing and implementing best practices for restorative justice by providing opportunities for all centers to consult with and learn from one another.
Our CJCs are located on the land which is home of the Western Abenaki People and has been a site of meeting and exchange among indigenous peoples for thousands of years. We honor, recognize and respect the Abenaki as the traditional stewards of the lands and waters on which we live, work, and play. We respect their connection to this region and acknowledge the violence they endured, and still endure, from institutionalized oppression based in white supremacy and colonialism, as well as individual acts of racism. We give thanks for the opportunity to share in this place and to protect it.