Community Calls For Full Funding of Restorative Justice Center

Ulster County Restorative Justice & Empowerment Center must prioritize real Restorative Justice

Kingston, NY - Community Organizations & Community Members are calling on the Ulster County Legislature to enact the 2018-19 county budget with full funding for the Restorative Justice and Community Empowerment Center. Full funding includes passing an amendment proposed by Ulster County Legislator Hector Rodriguez for $100,000 in real Restorative Justice Programs.

“Our County Executive has promised a Restorative Justice Center that will change the lives of those who are most impacted by injustices in the Criminal Justice System.” said Odell Winfield, AJ Williams-Myers African Roots Library. “It is necessary to fund real restorative Justice Programs that can help sever the School-To-Prison pipeline, and not just facilitate probation for youth.”

Restorative justice involves a set of practices intended to disrupt the patterns of crime and punishment. Restorative justice  practices are a form of intervention designed to change the relationship between offender and victim that result in a deeper understanding of how harm affects us all so that future harm can be avoided. Currently, The Restorative Justice and Community Empowerment Center does not include a clear plan for implementing Restorative Justice programs, only implementation of Raise The Age legislation.

“A community based Restorative Justice program will be implemented to expand the scope of Restorative Justice beyond programs for youth who have had police contact.” said Shailly Agnihotri, Founder & Executive Director of The Restorative Center.  In this program; community building circles, police relations circles, inter generational circles, school based circles will provide a foundation for our community to reap the benefits of a process of being together to collectively work for our own betterment.  

Since the announcement of the Restorative Justice & Community Engagement Center, Community Organizations have been calling for more than just an extension of DSS and probation.

“We have a real opportunity here to change the lives of children & young adults in Ulster County. We must invest in Real Restorative Justice Programs, and not allow this to be an offshoot of the School-To-Prison Pipeline.” said Callie Jayne, Executive Director, Rise Up Kingston. “Budgets are about priorities, and we hope that Ulster County Prioritizes Restorative Justice Programming”.

To learn more about restorative justice, restorative justice programs, and how to evaluate the programs, you can find more information here.

Callie Jayne