Presently Jim serves as Executive Director of the Community Justice Center (CJC) a non-traditional Restorative Justice/Public Safety organization addressing the needs of crime victims, offenders and communities. CJC offers individuals who are harmed by crime a web-based service that elevates their voices within the criminal justice system. CJC also provides incarcerated persons and individuals under community supervision, a powerful and effective “Crime Victims Impact Class” holding them directly accountable while reducing re-arrest rates. The program is based on the principles and values of Restorative Justice that states “Crime is not an act against the state, but against human relationships.”
Jim passion to give back to the community, while helping survivors of crime and offenders, comes from his own experiences with victimization. In October 1989, Jim was arrested for robbery and served a 3 to 5 year sentence in the Nebraska State Penitentiary. After his release in 1992, Jim went on to earn two Associates of Arts degrees in Drug/Alcohol Counseling and Youth Specialization.
In 1995, Jim began working at Lincoln Action Program (LAP) with President Clinton’s National Service Corporation, “AmeriCorps.” At LAP he took an existing prison program and redesigned it into what it is today, a unique and creative application of Restorative Justice. The program he created and developed is called “The Victims First Team.” Victims First Team is made up of juvenile offenders and other young people who assist survivors of crime around their homes and businesses. They hear directly from victims about the impact of crime on their lives. The program also provides young people with a clear sense of the emotional awareness and the financial cost of crime in our communities, while addressing victim’s needs, which builds offender competencies and increasing public safety.
Since the creation of CJC and The Victims First Team, Jim has served on numerous committees and boards in the Lincoln area such as; the Mayor’s Community Cabinet, Youth Attention Center Advisory Committee; and the Lincoln Lancaster Drug Project Board. In 1997 The Victims First Team received the Nebraska First Lady’s Award for Outstanding Community Service Group. Jim was appointed by Governor Ben Nelson to the state’s Juvenile Justice Task Force 1998. He has presented both programs at many local conferences, and at various Restorative Justice Conferences around the country. He was honored with several awards in 2001, The Family Violence Council “Good Persons Award”, The Washington Times Foundation Award for Restorative Justice and The Citizens Certificate of Merit from Lincoln Police Department for assisting Lincoln’s Crime Victims. Jim was honored with the Sertoma National “Service To Mankind” Award in 2009.
Both CJC and the Victims First Team, simultaneously addresses the needs of survivors of crime, offenders and our communities in a unique, creative, and meaningful way that benefits us all.