Longmont Community Justice Partnership is dedicated to the practice of restorative justice as a tool for community mediation of non-violent crime. As executive director Kathleen McGoey explains, “It’s a holistic and community focused approach to community safety.”
In practice, restorative justice at the LCJP works when all facets of the community -- including the victims of crime, those who offend, and law enforcement -- work together.
“When the Longmont police go to respond to a crime, if they find that the victim is okay with the case not going to court, and the offender is taking responsibility for their actions, the officer is able to refer that case to our organization instead of writing a ticket or making an arrest,” McGoey explains.
“The role of a volunteer facilitator is to start a dialogue between victims, offenders, police and community members," she continues. "These meetings will last several hours, and typically result in a contract with the offender that outlines specific actions they can take to rectify their offense. All parties talk about what happened, who was affected and how, and what can be done to make things right."
Former client and current volunteer Vicki McKinney says the program helps victims of crime see things from a different perspective.
“They talked to the offender about how he perceived it, and they also fleshed out what kind of person he was,” she says.
Volunteer Lonnie Hernandez is passionate about restorative justice.
“It’s something that’s revolutionary," she explains, "something that’s transformative, and something that works.”
Anybody can be a volunteer in restorative justice at LCJP. No special skills are needed, though potential volunteers are screened by a criminal background check.
“More than anything else,” Vicki McKinney says, “[restorative justice] allows both the victim and the offender to know that the community is indeed listening, and wants what’s best for all. Everyone has a voice.”
For restorative justice news, events and other programs statewide, visit rjcolorado.org.
If you are interested in signing up to volunteer with LCJP, please follow this link and complete the volunteer application.
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