• changeNotice the language used in news reports. Is someone in prison referred to as an “embezzler,” “murderer” or “sex offender” or as a person convicted of a certain crime?  Is a formerly incarcerated person called an “ex-con” or again, labeled by his/her crime?
  • Observe your own impulse when someone harms you. Do you want to hurt him/her back?  Notice your emotions: anger? Sadness?  Notice when you feel the human impulse toward retribution and when you are able to move past that toward compassion.  How did that work?
  • Do you have opportunities to hire staff or rent an apartment or room?  Examine how you screen applicants and what weight you give to past behavior, specifically a criminal conviction.  Are you willing to look past a former crime and give someone another chance?
  • Visit your local community justice center, and consider joining a restorative panel or a COSA (circle of support and accountability) to support someone coming out of prison.
  • Invite your legislator for coffee on a Monday or weekend and talk with him/her about the criminal justice system, your concerns, and your vision for change. Remember that they DO want to hear from you, especially if you have insights and information to offer to help them do their job better.

Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform
PO Box 8753, Burlington, VT 05402
(802) 540-0440

Contact us:

Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform 
is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization

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