Our Team

Our team is made up of victims, offenders, families, and allies who are working together to provide restorative justice to victims, offenders, and community.

The Community Justice Center has been at the forefront of peer support work in the State of Nebraska. Since 2001, we have employed forensic peer support staff in all facets of the organization and programming.

Executive Director

James G. Jones, Jr.

“Crime is not an act against the state, but against human relationships.”

Jim serves as the Executive Director and Senior Trainer of the Community Justice Center (CJC). His primary interests include crime victim’s issues, corrections, juvenile justice, and youth policy. His passion to give back to the community, by helping crime victims while holding offenders accountable came from his own experiences with victimization.

In October 1989, Jim was arrested for robbery and served a sentence in the Nebraska State Penitentiary. Jim was released in 1992 and enrolled in college, earning an associate’s degree in Drug & Alcohol Counseling and Youth Specialization.

In 1995, while working at the Lincoln Action Program (LAP), Jim took an existing youth prison program and redesigned it into a unique Crime Victims/Youthful Offenders program called “Victims First Team.” The Team was made up of juvenile offenders who assisted surrogate crime victims around their homes and businesses to rectify the harm from crime. The youth would clean up graffiti, help domestic violence victims relocate or perform manual labor following a crime. These young people would hear directly from crime victims and see the real cost of crime up front – the emotional, physical and financial damage caused by crime to individuals and communities. The program held young offenders accountable while building their competencies and improved public safety. In 1999 he attended Basic and Advance Training for Restorative Trainers with the Balance and Restorative Justice Project (BARJ) at Florida Atlantic University, sponsored by the US Justice Department, National Institute of Corrections; Jim also attended the National Victims Assistance Academy “2000” at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Notable achievements:

  • Author “Giving Back” – The Community Justice Center’s Story (2014)
  • Jim has served on the Mayor’s Community Cabinet, Youth Attention Center Advisory Committee, and Lincoln Lancaster Drug Project Board.
  • In 1997, the Victims First Team received the Nebraska First Lady’s Award for being an outstanding community service group.
  • Appointment by Governor Ben Nelson to the state’s Juvenile Justice Task Force in 1998.
  • Keynote presentations at restorative justice conferences around the country.
  • Good Persons Award from the Family Violence Council
  • Washington Times Foundation Award for restorative justice
  • Citizens Certificate of Merit from the Lincoln Police Department
  • Sertoma National Service To Mankind Award

Board of Directors

Diane Shottenkirk 


LeeAnn Pancharoen 
 Planned Parenthood of the Heartland

Gary Lamb


Captain Tarvis Banks
Lincoln Police Department

Bobby Beltran

Kristen Blankley

UNL College of Law

CJC Staff

Shakur Abdullah-Senior RJI Facilitator

Shakur is an Omaha trainer and outreach specialist for the CJC. Shakur is a National Institute of Corrections (NIC) certified offender workforce development specialist (OWDS). He has three years of experience providing pre- and post-release reentry services to justice-involved individuals in Nebraska and Iowa. Shakur is a member of the Incarcerated Children’s Advocacy Network (ICAN) a leadership and advocacy network comprised of former juvenile lifers. ICAN was created by and affiliated with the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth (CFSY). Shakur brings an extensive background of over 4 decades of incarcerated experience to the CJC. Arrested and sentenced as a juvenile in 1975, Shakur discharged Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) custody in 2016 upon completion of a homicide sentence. While incarcerated Shakur took advantage of habilitative opportunities (personal, academic and vocational) to be released from prison better not bitter. Shakur’s passion is to help repair the harm he created and assist others in accomplishing the same duty.

Rick Carter-Program Manager

Rick Carter has more than 20 years of nonprofit executive experience and serves as the Program Manager for CJC. Rick is also a CJC trainer and coordinates our Community Restorative Circles. Rick served from November 1989-November 2019 in the United States Army and the Nebraska Army National Guard as a Flight Engineer (Ch-47 Chinooks), crew chief, aircraft maintenance, Platoon Sergeant, and Instructor for Officer Candidate School. Rick is an army trained Master Resilience Trainer and has attended various military trainer/instructor courses. Rick has served as an aide in the United States Senate as well as a political consultant and campaign staff in various local and state elections. He has a BS in Criminal Justice and an MS in Leadership Education both from the University of Nebraska. Rick has worked in the child-welfare system, and in peer programming. Rick strives to partner and collaborate with other organizations to promote the values of Restorative Justice and is an advocate for social justice and criminal justice system reform. Rick brings a wealth of experience to the Community Justice Center and is dedicated to our mission, evidence-based and demonstrable programming, and addressing the needs of offenders/victims/communities. Rick lives in Lincoln and enjoys spending time with his children and loved ones, pursuing personal betterment, and reading.

Nature Medicine Song-RJI Facilitator

Nature Medicine Song  serves as one of our program facilitators. Nature is a forensic peer support leader turning pain and past harms into power, healing and hope. Her life experiences both inside and outside the walls of the systems have a restorative impact in her programs as well as in her work in reentry and community advocacy.

Along with her transformational and restorative work with the Community Justice Center, Nature is a member and community advocate with Stand in for Nebraska serving as Restorative Justice/Intersectional Coordinator/ Circle Facilitator/ Educator-Art Director-Creator of Eye Am Art (a knowledge of self/RJ BIPOC youth & adult curriculum involving art and healing circles). Nature is an active member of her community wearing many hats that pertain to uplifting what community looks and sounds like while championing for human and civil rights. Nature works closely with at risk youth to assist in changing the narrative of the pipelines to prison.

Nature is also an artist, and uses her creative spaces of art & healing circles to teach restorative approaches to healing and life changes. Nature holds her Associate of Arts and has the following certifications: ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention, IPS (Intentional Peer Support), WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Planning), Somatic Trauma/ Trauma Informed Care. She has received additional training in: behavioral health awareness, QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) suicide training, and social/restorative justice training.

Josh Smith-RJI Facilitator

Josh earned Bachelor Degrees in Criminal Justice and Psychology from UNK in 2001

Josh has been in the Human Services field for 20+ years and has had a variety of opportunities and experiences in: residential facilities, mental health facilities, treatment centers, half-way houses, high schools, and community non-profit organizations across the state of Nebraska.  Josh has three years teaching experience with the Upward Bound Program at Western Nebraska Community College, and is a certified Love and Logic trainer.

Josh began working with at risk youth and their families who were connected with the Department of Health and Human Services, in both residential facilities and in the community.  He also worked closely with children in the foster care system in efforts to transition them back with their biological parents.  In 2018, Josh moved to Lincoln and began working with individuals struggling with SPMI (Severe Persistent Mental Illnesses), as well as addiction.  As his career and life experience progressed, he developed a passion for working with men and women within the justice system who currently reside in a correctional facility, or have recently been released from a correctional institution.

Travis Austin-RJI Facilitator

Travis has earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Education as well as a Certificate in Drug and Alcohol Abuse Counseling from Southeast Community College. 

Travis is passionate about helping individuals reach the outcomes they set for themselves to achieve their personal goals. Travis has a unique background that incorporates education and substance abuse treatment.  He has worked in the public-school setting for over 6 years as a Special Education Teacher and understands the importance of working with a diverse background of individuals.  This has allowed him to appreciate the importance of different learning styles, interests, motivation and individual abilities.  More recently his work with individuals in recovery strengthened his knowledge of the 12 Step Program of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous as well as the Addictions Severity Index. 

Travis is a justice involved individual who upon release from incarceration, successfully completed probation and residential rehabilitation in Lancaster County. He is excited to help individuals that may be struggling with life transitions and habilitation. His goal is to help individuals cope with life’s ups and downs and learn to empower themselves on their path to recovery. He believes that building a strong support network and connections to the community are a key to success.

Timothy Lopez-Circle Facilitator and Reentry Support

Tim is a talented speaker from a diverse background. Growing up in the foster care system, Tim dealt with the lack of family support and proper acceptance. He became a product of the street life leading to incarceration as a juvenile and ending at age 30. While incarcerated Tim attempted to take his own life, after coming out of a coma Tim started a new path by participating in self-betterment programs, including the CJC’s restorative justice intervention program. Tim is now a motivational speaker and community activist. Tim serves on the board of advisory for the Lancaster County Mental Health Center. Tim received a certificate in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska Omaha. He describes himself as not the man he is today, but the man he is becoming as he allows himself to grow in knowledge and development each day. “We overcome things in life to become something in life.”  

Cindy Jones-Executive/Admin Assistant

Cindy Jones has worked with the Community Justice Center since October 2016. She ensures that the Executive vision and processes are followed. She prepares the initial information for facilitators to conduct classes. She is the liaison with Corrections and Probation coordinating classes, working with these agencies to ensure we are providing the best services to them and the participants. She procures supplies, processes invoice and payments, prepares reports, and keeps all the trains running on time.

Cindy retired from the federal government in September 2016 with approximately 34 years of budget, finance, personnel, investigative and management experience. She implemented many programs for the National Guard, the Defense Travel System and My Unit Pay. Her last position was managing a $28 million dollar budget. Cindy also retired from the Army National Guard with over 28 years in December 2006 as a Master Sergeant, Finance Chief. Over the years she provided finance briefings to units/soldiers deploying. She served in several leadership positions. The Nebraska Army National Guard under her leadership was recognized nationally for exceptional processes pay, contracts and management and internal controls.

Kathy Molinaro-Executive/Admin Assistant

Kathy Molinaro has worked with the Community Justice Center since December 2022. She helps the other Executive/Admin Assistant ensure that the Executive vision and processes are in accordance with the By-Laws, rules and regulations of the Community Justice Center. She prepares the initial information for facilitators to conduct classes. She is the liaison with Corrections for
coordinating classes under the VLS Grant by working with these agencies to ensure we
are providing the best services to them and the participants. She procures supplies,
processes monthly invoices, prepares reports, and helps the other Executive/Admin
Assistant keep all the operations running efficiently.
Kathy retired from the federal government in July 2021 with 36 years of budget,
personnel, training, and management experience. She also retired from the Nebraska Army National Guard with over 39 years in June 2018 as a Chief Warrant Officer Four Personnel Officer. She initially enlisted as a 02J Clarinet Player in the 43rd Army National Guard Band before taking a full-time federal position and transferring to Operations and Training Division. After this position she held numerous other positions to include; Secretary, Marathon Coordinator, Budget Analyst, Budget Officer for the Nebraska Army National Guard, Director of Family Programs. She finished as the Program and Budget Analyst, overseeing all Cooperative Agreements for the Nebraska Army and Air National Guard. She earned her Certified Defense Financial Manager certification in 2016 and her Department of Defense Financial Management Certification in 2020. She also served as National Guard Bureau’s budget liaison for all 54 States and
Territories while serving as the Budget Officer.

The Community Justice Center

211 North 14th Street

Ste. 309

Lincoln, NE 68508

Phone: 402-277-8111 or




The Community Justice Center

2401 Lake Street

Ste. 240

Omaha, NE 68111