Message from the Founder:
I would like to convey my most sincere and heartfelt gratitude to the individuals who have assisted me throughout this last year in seeing this project grow and take shape to what it has become today – a meaningful program serving victims of crime and our communities.
Acknowledgments must also go to those individuals and the Woods Charitable Fund, Cooper and Lincoln Foundations (on behalf of the Wayne J. & Wanda M. Lillich Charitable Fund) who have believed in this project from the beginning, and who have contributed monies and countless hours helping me move forward with the idea: Cindy Jones, Bill & Beth Chapin, Gaylene and Jim Barstow, LeeAnn Pancharoen, Deb Davidson, Anne Seymour, Betty Hutchinson and the team at Binary Net Inc., Professors Howard Zehr, Gordon Bazemore, Dave Kapler, Mark Cooper, Tim Newell, Judy Vandol, Rachida Faid-Douglas, Sarah McDonald, Jennifer Casey and Louise Weyer. These individuals have given me valuable feedback and input. My sincere appreciation also goes out to the CJC Board Members, local and national victim organizations, correctional and research experts for their input and guidance.
Beth Chapin, a very special friend God called home early, believed in the possibilities of CJC and that people should have the options CJC provides. Beth’s unconditional love for humankind is what I respected about her the most; she always believed in me, took the time to listen, and inspired me to follow my dreams. I will never forget your values, your integrity and your voice.
“Last night, I gave a short speech at the 10-year anniversary report of Lincoln’s Community Justice Center, held in Lincoln’s most impressive room: the Grand Hall at Grand Manse, formerly the 1906 Federal District Courtroom. The CJC is a private nonprofit organization that serves both criminal justice agencies, offenders, and crime victims. It was launched a decade ago by James Jones, a man I first met 16 years ago.
The CJC provides support services to offenders who are recently released, on probation, and on parole—both adults and juveniles. It serves our courts and corrections agencies by providing day reporting, victim impact training, and other alternatives to incarceration, or enhancements to unsupervised release.
The data is impressive. Whereas nationally about 50% of released prison inmates are back in the slammer within three years, Nebraska fares better, with a three-year recidivism rate of around 26%. Offenders who are served by the Community Justice Center, however, have a return rate of slightly less than 8%. Yes, there may be some self-selection in those results, but nonetheless, that’s a huge difference, and I think it can be attributed to good programming offered by an agency that is headed by a talented man who not only talks the talk, but has walked the walk.
Jim has earned my trust. I was somewhat cynical and just a little suspicious when this ex-offender came to my office in 1994, introduced himself and pitched his concept for restorative justice. I was wrong. He did exactly what he said he would do, and the organization he has built in the ensuing years is definitely an asset to our criminal justice system. I had the opportunity, last night, to point that out to a roomful of movers and shakers, and to his wife and son—not that they needed to hear it from me.”
– Chief Tom Casady, Lincoln Police Department
“Over the past ten years I have seen so many women who truly believed that THEY were the only victim of their crime. After the class, they come away with a realization, and attitude about what they have done and how many people were affected. The class is one of the single most effective things I have seen done at Nebraska Correctional Center for Women.”
– Mary Alley, NCCW (York, NE), Victims Advocate/Vocational Teacher II
“The program motivates particitpants to ACTION and breaks down their denial systems. The class should be taken at the beginning of supervision it opens their minds up to all DRC programming and makes supervising them much easier.”
– Cindy Wohler-Green (Lincoln, NE), Day Reporting Center Coordinator Lancaster County
“The clients that attend the Community Justice Center program are given the opportunity to open their minds to a world that many of them have never seen. The candid, honest discussions about how crime impacts so many facets of a community is brought to life and clients are able to focus on their responsibility and learn to begin to make changes in their thoughts and their behaviors. We are grateful for the work the Community Justice Center does and will continue to utilize the program as often as possible.”
– Julie Micek, LIMHP (Bellevue, NE), Day Reporting Center Coordinator Sarpy County
“CJC educational component for the offenders will be worthwhile whether or not the victims of the particular crime seek information or reconciliation. The fact that information will be available to victims who may want such information will provide those victims with a safe and non-threatening way to access information in addition to offering them the possibility of mediated meeting. I believe your proposal is well thought out and would serve an important need in this community.”
– Dennis R. Keefe, Office of the Public Defender – Lincoln, NE
“Among other important features, CJC respects safety and choice. For example, participation by victims is strictly voluntary and victim-initiated. At the same time, an offender may choose to participate in the education component and website whenever he or she is ready. This will help offender take responsibility and develop empathy. The website will be a safe way for victims to get information and then choose whether, when and how to participate further.”
– Elizabeth R. Kosier, J.D., The Mediation Center – Lincoln, NE
“I have reviewed the CJC program abstract and believe it has the potential to reduce crime and make our community a safer place in which to live. I feel the program will benefit both survivors of crime and offenders.”
– William S. Janike, M.A., P.L.M.H.P., Child Guidance Center – Lincoln, NE
“Your CJC project is particularly exciting and holds great potential because it offers additional options to serve the needs of crime victims while helping offenders face the reality of the impact of their actions on the people they have harmed. Both offender accountability and victim service are addressed though CJC.”
– Mark Umbreit, Ph.D.; Professor and Executive Director, Center for Restorative Justice & Peacemaking
“In Minnesota we have been struggling with the very problem that CJC addresses: how to create opportunities for victims to be relieved of the fear that they may still have in situations where an offender is truly remorseful and eager to apologize and to make amends. Many victims suffer needlessly for years because they have no way to know what has happened to the offender or what changes have occurred in the offender.”
– Kay Pranis, Restorative Justice Planner
“I was glad to have an opportunity to look over your CJC proposal. It appears to fill a real need. As you well know, victims often wish to have the kind of information and contact that your proposal offers.”
– Howard Zehr, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology and Restorative Justice Eastern Mennonite University; Harrisonburg, VA
“Far too often in our society offenders are released from correctional facilities without being held accountable in any meaningful way for the pain, suffering, trauma, and loss they have inflicted upon others, and it is quite reassuring to know that your program will change that.”
– Cheryl D. Green, Director of Victim Services, Maryland Department of Juvenile Justice
“The project offers a needed addition to the restorative justice options available to us to repair the tears in our community fabric caused by crime.”
– Lee Copenhagen, Project Director, Gallatin Community Justice Center; Bozeman, MT
“After reading the proposal, I have found that this program is one of the most innovative and refreshing concepts in the field of Victim Services that I have seen in quite some time.”
– Robert E. Smith, Director, Domestic Violence Task Force Office of the District Attorney; Jena, LA
“It is refreshing to see a program designed to embrace the concepts that are being addressed. Getting victims and offenders to truly address what has happened, the impact the crime had on all involved is an excellent process in beginning the healing. This will truly embrace the balance and restorative justice approach.”
– Rosezetta Bobo, Restorative Justice Coordinator, Florida Supreme Court