Leahy Advances Creation Of National Center For Restorative Justice

…Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Funding For The Creation Of A Center Focused On Addressing Community-Based Approaches To Restorative Justice….

WASHINGTON (FRIDAY, June 15, 2018) – Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday advanced legislation through the Appropriations Committee that calls for the establishment of a National Center For Restorative Justice.  Leahy formulated the request based on work already being done at Vermont Law School and the University of Vermont, and with other institutions and entities across the Green Mountain State. The Center would focus on collaborative ways to reduce recidivism and to address mass incarceration, the school-to-prison pipeline, and the racial, economic, and geographic inequalities that plague our justice system.    

Leahy said: “The problem of mass incarceration in America is a crisis that is tearing apart families. Its impact can last for generations.  This is a crisis that cannot be ignored, and it needs new and innovative approaches.  It is my hope that by incubating new ideas and bringing in members of the community from police officers to school teachers to mental health providers, at every level of our governments, we can begin to stem the tide of mass incarceration that is built on deep social inequality, racism and economic disparities that exist within our American justice system.”

The center would be a national leader in advancing new and innovative ways to reform our justice system, like disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline.  It would bring together state, regional, national and international leaders in the field to develop new ways to address the issues within the American justice system that focus on community solutions.  Hosted by an accredited academic institution, the goal would be to offer a rich curriculum to educate and train the next generation of justice leaders who are crucial to the justice system or intervention, including: police officers, prosecutors, social workers, school teachers and community leaders.

The United States incarcerates a larger share of its population than any other country in the world.  This has devastating consequences for communities across the country, particularly among African Americans who are incarcerated at a rate five times higher than white Americans.  This tears apart families, disrupts education and derails career paths, which has a reverberating effect through a community.

The Senate Appropriations Committee, through the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations bill, approved $3 million within the National Institute of Justice to start the Center  The bill must now be considered by the full Senate, reconciled with the House, and be signed into law by the President.

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