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Restorative Justice

The Restorative Justice blog covers everything from coverage on Center for Justice Reform events to the latest new in the criminal justice system.

Brett Stokes and Jill martin Diaz

On February 2, 2023, VIA attorneys Brett Stokes and Jill Martin Diaz co-filed a mass action in the District of Vermont alongside lead litigators from Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Battered Immigrant Project, the Advocacy Center’s Immigrant Justice Program, the North Carolina Justice Center, and Brad Banias Law. The action seeks equitable relief from USCIS for its failure to adjudicate NC-based noncitizen survivors…

A white man with short black hair wearing a blue dress shirt, blue tie with diagonal stripes and grey jacket stands smiling against a brick wall
VLS student Christian Quigley shares his goals and experiences with earning a joint JD/Masters in Restorative Justice.
"Eyes Open, Minds Open" by Zora Duncan

Every year, the RJ4All International Institute celebrates International Restorative Justice Week. This year, RJ Week took place from November 21 – 28, and the National Center on Restorative Justice (NCORJ) marked the occasion by unveiling their restorative justice art gallery, titled “Reimagining Justice.”

The NCORJ issued a call to artists and restorative justice advocates to creatively represent a restorative approach to justice-making, or to advance public understanding and implementation of restorative justice through art. Submissions were…

In her newly published book, The Uninnocent: Notes on Violence and Mercy, VLS Adjunct Professor Katharine Blake explores the aftermath of a crime that changed her family, and career, forever. The crime? Her 16-year old cousin’s seemingly random murder of a nine-year old boy while suffering from a “psychotic break.” 
Professional Certificate in Restorative Justice Scholarship Recipients
The Center for Justice Reform is proud to announce this year's Professional Certificate in Restorative Justice Scholarship Recipients. Read on to hear from each of these outstanding students.
Call for Papers decorative image

Dr. Lindsey Pointer, the Associate Director of the National Center on Restorative Justice and the Center for Justice Reform, is serving as an editor for the North American volume of the International Encyclopedia of Restorative Justice. This is an international collaboration that aims to document the growth of restorative justice around the world. Please see the call for papers below and consider submitting a proposal.

The editorial team for the North American Volume of the International Encyclopedia of Restorative Justice seeks proposals for short chapters (1500–2500 words) that…

July 30, 2021

This poem was submitted by Emma Hirst MARJ’21 to a restorative justice art contest held by Amherst College in spring 2021.

July 28, 2021

By Justin Campfield

When Vermont Law School launched the Center or Justice Reform and debuted the nation’s first Master of Arts in Restorative Justice (MARJ) degree in 2018, it could not have foreseen the series of tragic events, most prominent among them the death of George Floyd, that have since thrust social justice and criminal justice…

March 30, 2021

Vermont Law School is proud to announce the recipients of the Professional Certificate in Restorative Justice scholarship, as selected by members of the Advisory Board of the National Center on Restorative Justice.

The certificate program is a unique nine-credit program for graduate students, restorative justice…

March 18, 2021



Delinda Passas MARJ'20 was among the first cohort of online Master of Arts in Restorative Justice (MARJ) students in 2018 and continues to stay an active part of the VLS community through weekly conversations held for current and former restorative justice students. Delinda uses her background in restorative justice to share education on restorative practices and foster relationships within the community to support a restorative justice program…

Dr. Lindsey Pointer

Dr. Lindsey Pointer, assistant director of the National Center on Restorative Justice and an assistant professor at VLS, recently published her second book focusing on…

February 18, 2021

By Kyla Schweber MARJ'21


Restorative justice differs from the traditional adversarial process, which tends to be a very cookie-cutter form of justice. In the current correctional system, an offender commits a crime, and a judge will administer a punishment most likely based on precedent if that person is found guilty. Unlike the adversarial system, restorative justice is not a universal process, it is specific to the community, situation, and people involved.

“Although the definition of restorative justice continues to evolve,…

February 18, 2021

By Robert Sand Founding Director, Center for Justice Reform

The New Year invites a time for family and reflection, sometimes even reflections on our own childhood. Thinking about childhood often leads to reminders about nursery rhymes and other stories for kids. Looking at those stories and poems now shows how horrible some of them really are, full of fright and harm.

So why not rewrite those old stories and poems through a different lens, a restorative lens? We welcome submissions of your Restorative ReWrites and will publish some of them in…

January 14, 2021

While a growing number of Master of Arts in Restorative Justice (MARJ) students are now official graduates and have gone on to new jobs, experiences, and even time zones, we hope that ALL continue to feel connected to the restorative justice community here at Vermont Law School. It is so exciting to see the variety of paths MARJ alums have taken, and this alumna spotlight is one way we hope to stay tuned in to those journeys.

Emily Severson was among the first…

January 8, 2021

Karla Barron MARJ'21

Vermont Law School students Karla Barron MARJ’21 and Caleb Sabatka MARJ’21 recently combined forces to submit public comments to the Department of Labor opposing a controversial executive order signed by President Trump.

Caleb Sabatka MARJ’21

Issued on Sept. 22, 2020, Executive Order 13950 purports to combat “race or sex stereotyping in the Federal workforce or in the Uniformed Services” by preventing federal contractors from conducting workplace training that the order claims teaches, among other things, “that men and members of certain…

November 18, 2020

Last month, the National Center on Restorative Justice (NCRJ) at Vermont Law School launched "Reimagining Justice," a restorative justice art contest. The contest encouraged the restorative justice and art communities to consider a very important question: How can we use the power of images to communicate the concept of restorative justice and the greater philosophical shift at work to a wider audience?

In celebration of International Restorative Justice Week, a gallery of contest submissions and…

November 16, 2020

By Karla Barron MARJ'21

Everyone is feeling something. The uplifted weight of the false and negative rhetoric that now lies in defeat. It is a sigh of slight relief and air of hope.

I, like so many others, did my due diligence and voted because it was the most critical election I can remember during my lifetime. The culmination of burdens, injustices, struggles, fears and so much more that many of us have been carrying, gave rise to this moment.

I didn’t mind the media following the results. I wasn’t ready to relive the emotions of…

July 24, 2020

Q&A with Derek Miodownik MARJ'21, Community and Restorative Justice Executive for the Vermont Department of Corrections, and online student in the Masters of Restorative Justice Program at VLS. (Note: Derek discussed his experience with us in the fall of 2019.)

How have you seen restorative justice change in the 24 years you’ve been involved in the field?

The Death of George Floyd: The Laws and Limits of Minnesota’s Homicide Statutes

March 6, 2020

Scarcity Training at Vermont Law School

Growing up and living with scarcity impacts decision-making and judgment. On Friday, March 6, 2020, 50 people working in court diversion and pretrial services together with VLS students, faculty, and staff came together to learn how scarcity affects people we encounter in our current or future work. The VLS Center for Justice Reform hosted the training and co-sponsored it along with the Vermont Attorney General’s…

July 19, 2018
In June, the Vermont Law School’s Center for Justice Reform held the 2018 International Restorative Justice Conference: Global Unity and Healing in Burlington, Vermont at the UVM Dudley H. Davis Conference Center. Over 350 people attended from Vermont, across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia.
July 18, 2018
The Center for Justice Reform partnered with two forward-thinking Vermont prosecutors to help host two expungement days. Working in conjunction with prosecutors and Vermont Legal Aid, the Center and VLS student volunteers helped approximately citizens remove old marijuana convictions from their record.