Every morning I love to watch and listen to the daily pledge of allegiance on WTAJ news. It is usually one of our county elementary schools. The sight of the children and the words of our pledge inspire me. “I pledge allegiance…with liberty and justice for all.” Those closing words closely reflect the mission of CACJ. We believe in and practice restorative justice. Our hope is to create and maintain a community that heals.
Recently, our CACJ Board President, Zoe Boniface wrote: “True justice ends the cycle of harm, where the victim of one event becomes the perpetrator of another.” All of our programs work toward reducing injustice, anger and harm.
Our pre-trial release program supervises individuals awaiting trial without incarceration. Our custody court mediation program helps families resolve their differences and focus on what’s best for their children.
Our Youth Aid Panels provide a first-time juvenile offender the opportunity to create a restitution plan with the help of a volunteer mentor. These dedicated volunteers help provide “aha” moments for the kids exploring ways to avoid situations that surrounded their offense and clarity about the way they see life going forward.
“There is nothing more satisfying than watching a child, with the help of the volunteer panel members, advance through the program finding closure regarding the offense that brought them to YAP, a clean record, better relationship with family and friends and a hopeful future,” a recent quote from Deb Llewellyn our YAP Coordinator.
Right now, in the midst of this “unprecedented time” many of us are experiencing conflict – within ourselves and with each other. Though conflict is a normal part of life, most of us are uncomfortable feeling and dealing with conflict. CACJ also offers presentations and trainings about mediation and conflict resolution.
Here’s some help with your current conflicts. The best way to handle conflict is just that: handle it. Don’t let it fester. Take a breath. Sit down together and talk about your thoughts AND your feelings. Acknowledging and naming our feelings can be very helpful and reduce both your own inner turmoil and the external conflict you are experiencing. It usually feels much better to get it out in the open and then move forward.
CACJ will continue to foster restorative justice for all. As our mission states: We seek to develop and implement effective alternatives that preserve human dignity, restore, heal and empower individuals. We work to build communities that provide, “liberty and justice for all.”