"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 the Restorative Justice Project’s board of directors.
The Restorative Justice Project (RJP) is an nine-year old nonprofit which started in Belfast and now serves the four counties within Prosecutorial District Six: 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.