Restorative justice provides opportunities for people to right their wrongs. At LRC, participants meet with people they’ve impacted and/or other community members to address harm created and attend to the underlying causes of their behaviors. Thirty-two volunteers help support this process, meeting with participants regularly. Restorative interventions help participants be successful and avoid involvement in the traditional justice system.
Court Diversion is a local restorative justice program that began in a few communities in the late 1970s to divert minor offenders out of the court system. In 1981 the Legislature made it a statewide option for juveniles, and in 1985 the program expanded to include adult offenders. Court Diversion follows a balanced and restorative justice model: Repairing the wrongs that have been done by addressing the needs of victims, the community, and the offender.
Community members serving on review boards meet with clients to develop contracts that address the particular offense and the underlying reasons for the client’s actions. Individualized contracts may include restitution payment, participation in counseling or substance abuse treatment and reflective and/or educational activities. Participation in the program is voluntary, and clients, if successful, have their criminal record sealed.
- 103 individuals participated in Court Diversion
- $7292.90 in restitution was paid to victims
- 95% of participants completed the program successfully
- 300 hours of community service were performed
Contact Becky Penberthy: (802) 888-0657
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Precharge is a restorative justice intervention for individuals ages 10 and up who are willing to take responsibility for their low-level unlawful actions. This program is for both civil and criminal offenses and participants may be referred by law enforcement officers or by the State’s Attorney. The program uses a restorative justice model and addresses the needs of victims, the community, and the participant. The participant receives case management support and meets with a team of trained volunteers to develop a contract that focuses on repairing the harm (to the degree that it is possible).
Pretrial Services Lamoille County Pretrial Services is a new alternative to a traditional criminal justice response to eligible misdemeanor or felony charges. Every county in Vermont provides Pretrial Services in accordance with Vermont Act 195. Individuals cited or arrested in Lamoille County may volunteer to be screened by the Pretrial Monitor based in Hyde Park prior to their first appearance in court. They may speak with a lawyer first.
How does it work?
The Pretrial Monitor offers potential participants three confidential assessments focusing on mental health, substance use, and risk of non-appearance/risk of reoffense. The specific details of the assessments will not be shared with the prosecutor or the Court. The State’s Attorney (prosecutor) may review a summary of the results, and may recommend a case for the precharge program. The Judge may consider a summary of the results in determining bail or conditions of release.
The State’s Attorney might review the screening results and offer participants the opportunity to take part in a program that does not involve filing the case with the court. The participant would sign an agreement that focuses on reducing future offenses and work toward repairing any harm caused. Terms of the agreement could include mental health and substance use supports and participation in an alternative justice program, and/or restitution. Under this program, the Pretrial Monitor may refer participants to appropriate support services and send progress reports to the State’s Attorney.
Conditions of Release
If the State’s Attorney files the case with the court, the Judge may use the results of the screening in determining bail and conditions of release. Conditions may include mental health and/or substance use assessments. The Pretrial Monitor may refer participants to appropriate services, and send reminders of Court appearance dates.
Contact Becky Penberthy: (802) 888-0657
Following a restorative justice model, trained volunteers and case managers meet with those convicted of a crime whose behavior has impacted individuals and members of the community. Some program participants have a probation office while others do not. Participants meet with the volunteers each month over a period of 90 days to develop an agreement that takes steps towards repairing the harm done to the victim(s), the community and to themselves.
- Becky Penberthy: (802) 888-0657
Youth age 20 years and younger who violate Vermont’s possession of marijuana and underage consumption of alcohol laws are referred by law enforcement to YSASP. The YSASP case managers supervise individualized contracts which include an assessment by a certified or licensed substance abuse counselor, a program fee, and other activities designed to promote learning and reflection.
- 145 youth participated and 89% successfully completed the program
Contact Becky Penberthy: (802) 888-0657
The Truancy Project works with schools within Lamoille North, Lamoille South and Orleans Southwest Supervisory Unions. The staff facilitate communication between schools and families, and assist students and their families overcome barriers to school attendance. Since its inception in the late 1990’s, over 700 students and their families have been referred to the Truancy Project for intervention.
- 313 students and families received assistance
- Only 4 cases required further court interventions
Contact Melissa Gardner: (802) 888-5223
The Civil DLS Diversion Program is designed to help people regain their driver’s license while they pay off their fines and fees. Participants work with Diversion staff to develop a contract including a payment plan that is presented to the Vermont Judicial Bureau (VJB) for review. Upon approval by VJB Hearing Officer, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is notified that the person is in compliance with the VJB. DMV reinstatement requirements must also be met before the person’s driver’s license is reinstated.
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.
First, a person must have met the underlying suspension requirements, such as a serving out a suspension period required by accumulation of points.
Not everyone is eligible for this program. People whose current suspension is a result of a DUI or certain other serious offenses are not eligible for this program.
Participants must attend an initial meeting with a Diversion staff person to examine:
- The reasons for license suspension
- Their financial situation
- Steps needed to get the driver’s license reinstated
- How to pay off their fines and fees
- Fill out a financial affidavit describing personal income and bills.
- Develop and follow a plan to pay off fines and fees owed to the State. This plan may include other conditions, such as community service.
- Attend follow up meetings as needed.
- Pay a down payment of $25 toward the program fee of $300. The balance of the fee is included in the payment plan, and may be reduced based on a person’s financial situation.
Upon approval of the contract and payment plan by the Vermont Judicial Bureau– and satisfaction of other DMV requirements (such as a road test, obtaining SR-22 auto insurance, taking care of any traffic fines owed to other states, etc.), participants in the program will have their driver’s license reinstated.
Failure to follow the contract, including the payment plan, leads to suspension of the person’s driver’s license.
Successful completion means past civil violations will not count toward more serious criminal charges.