Restorative Justice Project of the Midcoast receives $60,000 grant
The Restorative Justice Project of the Midcoast, promoting fundamental change in the justice system and schools, has received a $60,000 grant from the Emanuel & Pauline A. Lerner Foundation.
The grant will enable comprehensive outreach to the community to promote understanding of restorative justice. Key components of this outreach effort are to involve more community members as facilitators of restorative conferences and as mentors of juvenile and adult offenders, to equip them to bring restorative practices into many aspects of their lives and to build public understanding of restorative justice.
“We are confident that this opportunity to develop our volunteer program in conjunction with community outreach will expand the power of restorative relationships and dialogue to benefit the many whose lives are touched by conflict and wrong-doing — from victims, to offenders, to the service providers, justice professionals, educators and neighborhoods affected by crime,” said Jay Davis, president of RJP’s board.
RJP is an nine-year-old nonprofit which started in Belfast and now serves the four counties within Prosecutorial District 6: Waldo, Knox, Sagadahoc and Lincoln. Through programs that encompass the spectrum of need from prevention to intervention to reintegration, RJP provides services to schools, juvenile court and the Maine Coastal Regional Re-entry Center in Belfast.
RJP’s goal is to help offenders take accountability and to provide support and healing for the victim, building community connections to bring justice to all. The work of RJP has resulted in significantly decreased recidivism, healing of victims, and transformed lives — rarities within the traditional criminal justice system. Participation by community volunteers is critical to the success of this approach to personal and community healing.
The Lerner Foundation supports organizations and projects that seek to improve and strengthen civic life, with a particular focus on the State of Maine. It was established by Emanuel and Pauline Lerner, who believed deeply in democratic values and equal opportunity and understood that public engagement and open discourse were the critical underpinnings of a healthy civil society.
Support for the Restorative Justice Project is provided by state and local entities. In addition to the Lerner Foundation, these include the Maine Department of Corrections, Volunteers of America, the Gorman Foundation, Bangor Savings Bank, Viking Lumber and the Maine Community Foundation as well as individual donors.