Williston Community Justice Center
The WCJC works with the Williston Police Department, the Vermont Department of Corrections, and with pre-charge and court referrals in order to assess the impact of specific crimes on victims and ascertain what actions the offender might take to repair any damage the offender may have caused to the victim and the community. Beyond repairing the harm that is created when a crime is committed, the WCJC seeks to increase the responsibly party’s sense of belonging to a community to reduce recidivism.
Membership in the WCJC consists of up to 30 members appointed by the Williston Selectboard to staggered three-year terms. Members are appointed by the Selectboard upon the recommendation of the WCJC and shall serve at the pleasure of the Selectboard. The board also employees a part-time WCJC Director and a WCJC Coordinator.
The Williston Community Justice Center (WCJC) is committed to promoting and advancing the safety and wellbeing of our communities by providing resources for positive change, striving to dismantle patterns of racial and economic disparity, and seeking to repair damaged relationships through restorative practices tailored to meet the unique needs of impacted and responsible parties.
Basic Values of Restorative Justice
1. Offensive actions are assessed in terms of harm to people, damage to relationships, and the disruption of peace in the community.
2. The goal of restorative justice processes is to build understanding, encourage accountability, and provide an opportunity for healing.
3. Restorative justice is collaborative and inclusive; those responsible and affected by wrongdoing as well as the community are involved in finding solutions that seek to repair harm and promote harmony.
4. The dignity and needs of those affected by wrongdoing are honored and assistance in getting those needs met is offered. Affected parties have a forum to ask questions, receive answers, gain understanding, explain the impact of the offensive behavior on them, contribute to the outcome of the process, and seek closure.
5. The person who wronged others has a personal responsibility to those affected and to the community.
6. Stakeholders in the community share responsibility for restorative justice. The community has an opportunity to articulate its values and expectations, to understand the underlying causes of offensive behavior, and to determine what can be done to repair the damage caused.
7. The person responsible for wrongdoing is encouraged to be accountable in a meaningful way by gaining insight into the causes and effects of his/her actions of others, to change the offending behavior, to make amends, and to be accepted back into the community.
8. The restorative justice approach can contribute to a community’s well-being and potentially reduce conflict and crime.
Most of the funding for the WCJC is through a grant with the Department of Corrections and by the Town of Williston. The Police Department provides office space and staff support to the Board, as needed.