Vermont’s criminal justice system was created over time by well-meaning citizens who wanted safer communities. Some mistakenly thought criminalizing a behavior would prevent it. Some wanted harsher sentences out of fear. Some simply wanted to punish. Others helped create more constructive alternatives—diversion programs, community justice centers, restorative justice panels, specialty courts. Nonetheless, what remains is a state of over-incarceration not unlike that in the rest of the country, better in some ways and worse in others. VCJR exists to shine a light on current criminal justice practices and to promote a radically different—productive—approach to interpersonal harm.
To educate the public about Vermont’s criminal justice system and advocate for more effective alternatives.
A system of addressing interpersonal harm that is restorative and community-based, using intervention as a support rather than a punishment.