At a time of historical demand for racial justice and new approaches to responding to harm, Vermont Law School, which houses the Center for Justice Reform and is host of the new National Center on Restorative Justice, announces the creation of five full scholarships for its Professional Certificate in Restorative Justice. In addition, to create greater access to restorative justice education, the Professional Certificate in Restorative Justice is now offered at a $600 per credit rate to drastically lower the cost of the certificate.
“Restorative justice offers hope and a way to improve criminal justice policy and practice in the United States. For that work, it must be available and accessible,” said Stephanie Clark, Director of the Center for Justice Reform at Vermont Law School. “Being restorative means to create and protect equity, to provide opportunity, and to build trust and relationships that can transform harm and conflict into healing and reparation. Expanding the reach of restorative justice principles and practice gives promise for mending and rebuilding divided communities.”
Restorative Justice, a non-punitive, relational response to harm that seeks accountability through expansive input from those who have been harmed, acceptance of responsibility, and amends, has ancient origins and broad applicability today. VLS is the first law school in the country to offer a Master of Arts in Restorative Justice in addition to the JD degree. VLS also offers a 9-credit Professional Certificate in Restorative Justice designed to introduce restorative theories and practices to professionals from various fields.
In conjunction with the US Office of Justice Programs, Vermont Law School, together with its partners, the University of Vermont and the University of San Diego, launched the National Center on Restorative Justice in Spring 2020. The goal of the National Center is to improve criminal justice policy and practice through enhanced restorative justice training and education for undergraduate and graduate students as well as incarcerated people and those under court supervision, professional development, and rigorous research into the impact of broadened restorative justice education on justice systems.
In the fall of 2020, VLS will award five public interest scholarships. These scholarships will be awarded to professionals from fields as diverse as law enforcement and the military to education and child protection to earn the 9-credit professional certificate. Courses may be taken residentially, online, or in a hybrid fashion.
These scholarships complement VLS’s decision to significantly reduce the cost of the Professional Certificate for all participants in recognition of the need for RJ education to be more widely available with fewer substantial financial barriers.