James “Jim” Jones, is currently the Executive Director and Senior Trainer of the Community Justice Center. His primary interests include crime victim’s issues, corrections, juvenile justice and youth policy. Phone (402) 429-1050 . 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 3 to 5 year sentence in 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, 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 US Justice Department, National Institute of Corrections; Jim also attended the National Victims Assistance Academy “2000” at the Medical University of South Carolina.
Terence (Terry) Johnson, Terence (Terry) Johnson is in his 12th year working as senior trainer and outreach coordinator for the CJC. He previously worked as a alcohol/drug counselor in the state of Nebraska for the Nebraska National Guard providing educational services across the state. He also worked for the Siena Francis House in Omaha, the states largest homeless shelter and residential treatment facility as a counselor and case manager. Terry is committed to helping justice involved individuals change their lives and give them an opportunity to be productive members of society by providing effective programming and helping them with necessities such as employment, housing and education.
Shakur Abdullah, is an Omaha trainer and outreach specialist for the CJC. Shakur is a National Institute of Corrections (NIC) certified offender workforce development specialist (OWDS). Shakur 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, BS (Criminal Justice), MS (Leadership Education); has more than 15 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 has served 28 years in the United States Army and the Nebraska Army National Guard and is currently an instructor for Nebraska’s Officer Candidate School located in Ashland, NE. Rick is an army trained Master Resilience Trainer and has attended various military trainer/instructor courses. Rick has also worked in politics, the child-welfare system, and in peer programming. Rick strives to partner and collaborate with other organizations to promote the value of Restorative Justice and is an advocte for social justice and criminal justice system reform. Rick brings a wealth of experience to the Community Justice Center and is dedicated to our values, 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. Rick’s life quote is, “You will never be defined by the worst thing you have ever done or the worst thing that has ever happened to you.”
Sandra (Sandi) Raney, MAC, ADC, LAT, LDAC, PLMHP, CART; is a substance abuse and mental health counselor licensed internationally, in the states of Wyoming and Nebraska and certified anger resolution therapist. She has been working in the field approximately ten years first as a mentor then as a counselor. Sandi has specialized in substance use and trauma with veterans, men, women and now adolescence. She has experience working with the criminal justice system both inside and out of the prison setting, transitional living facilities, probation and parole. She also has experience within the residential settings of treatment. Sandi is a veteran of the US Coast Guard and US Navy with deployment to Operation Desert Shield/Storm in 1990 – 1991. Through this time, Sandi gained recovery from alcohol and sick relationships. She has support of her husband and youngest son in Scottsbluff, NE. Currently she is in private practice and travels to meet clients in their homes along with meeting them in detention and office. Sandi enjoys spending time camping, hiking and exploration of this great land with her husband and son. She has four older step-daughters, two older children, daughter and son by prior marriage and along with 13 grandchildren. Her passion is to walk with people through pain toward healing and restoration of health of mind, body and spirit along with surrounding relationships.
Ralph Brown, Ralph began his interest in Restorative Justice in 1998, when he started working with “at risk youth” in a prison program that he helped start, Convicts Helping Youth. He needed training to deal more effectively with the youth and asked the help of Jim Jones with the Lincoln Action Program. It was soon after this when Jim began working on a Restorative Justice program that he called OASIS. Through this program he received several weeks of training from multiple outside sources in this field and became the first inside instructor for the program in 2004 that would later become The Community Justice Center. Ralph went on to study Criminal Justice with Peru State College and was appointed to Governor Ben Nelson’s Restorative Justice panel as a member inside of prison. He also assisted Liz Jennette in training Department of Corrections staff in Victim/Offender dialog and Victim/Offender Mediation. He augmented his learning and presenting skills by attending Toastmasters International, which is an organization dedicated to developing leaders and public speakers. Ralph achieved the highest award that the organization offers, a DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster), and served as President of his club. Ralph went on to become the Area Director and eventually the Division Director while serving as the District Secretary. Ralph served 28 years in prison. Shortly after his release in 2014, he was asked to give a presentation on the principles of Restorative Justice. At the end he was asked by on of the attendees, “How does it feel now that you’ve paid your debt to society?) Ralph said he would let them know once that debt was paid because as long as he was a tax burden instead of a tax payer, and as long as he needed support from people on the outside to do what he could not do for himself, h was incurring a debt, not paying one. Working with The Community Justice Center is how Ralph works to pay this debt and stand accountable for the harm he did.
Kai Sears, BS (Human Resources/Family Sciences); serves as the Restorative Justice Outreach Specialist. Kai worked in the Nebraska Department of Corrections (NDCS) for five years, coordinating inmate self-betterment clubs and recreational programming. She was 2009 NDCS Employee of the Year for Inmate Management and Programs. Kai also has a combined nine years of experience in the mental health field; serving as direct staff within a psychiatric hospital, as well as a mental health community support worker. At CJC, she partners with the Director of Operations in facilitating the Community Restorative Circles. Kai is focused on strengthening the community networks to improve social outcomes. She is committed to the wellness of individuals and the community, and believes a community that embraces the practices and principles of restorative justice will have less harm (crime), reduced recidivism, and be safer overall. Kai is currently a graduate student in the Master of Social Work / Master of Public Administration dual degree program at the University of Nebraska Omaha. She is married and has two daughters. As a former roller derby athlete, she continues to enjoy hobbies that include physical activity.