Full Circle Restorative Justice (FCRJ) has named a new executive director, Kimberly Parker, to head up its efforts to better serve Chaffee County and the 11th Judicial District. Parker joined FCRJ late in February, after a stint as Housing Coordinator and Victim Advocate with The Alliance. She was a 2018 Democratic party candidate for Chaffee County Commissioner.
Parker’s strong background in leadership, facilitation, advocacy, strategic planning and technology, has already had an impact on FCRJ, which is experiencing increased demand from the community for restorative justice and alternative dispute resolution services. Established in 2006, FCRJ fills a vital community need by offering alternatives and diversion from the criminal justice system to both youth and adults in Chaffee County.
“At its core, restorative practices are about connection and community – and there is a continuum from proactive to reactive practices. Restorative practices for youth in schools create more safety, less bullying and more inclusion, which in turn has positive effects on learning and comprehension,” said Parker. “When it comes to the criminal justice system, FCRJ supports important dialogue between victims and offenders, at the request of victims, who would otherwise not have this option as a part of resolving and healing from the incident.”
The appointment of Parker as executive director is not the only change at FCRJ. The board has seen new leadership, and a new youth board leader has been added. The nine-person board of directors new includes newly-elected Board Chair Ken Matthews, Vice Chair Bowman Russell, Secretary Talmage Trujillo, Treasurer JD Longwell, plus Magdalena Rosa, Scotty Hughes, Lynn Lee, Zech Papp and Forrest Whitman.
“We are committed to developing youth leaders as a part of our mission in this community,” said Matthews. “Electing high school senior Russell as vice chair is an action toward that commitment.”
The work of the FCRJ would not be possible without the extensive involvement of volunteers. In fact, says Program Director Patty LaTaille. “At the heart of FCRJ is our powerhouse of dedicated volunteers. We could not provide all of the programs and services FCRJ offers without our trained and deeply committed community members.”
Among the program support offered by the FCRJ is its Victim-Offender Dialogues (VOD), Restorative Circles, Peer Mediation and Non-Violent Communication school programs, along with the Insight Prison Program in the Buena Vista Correctional Facility. All are volunteer-based positive conflict resolution and restorative practices available to the community.
LaTaille recently published a book on the inter-collaboration of the human and animal species in peace-building called Paws for Peace: Enhancing Restorative Practices with Therapy Dogs. The innovative approach including a therapy dog and handler team is now an option for VOD and Circle participants, along with school students and teachers.
FCRJ receives cases from the courts, schools and businesses throughout Chaffee County and surrounding counties. LaTaille says it has proved effective at lowering recidivism rates and high victim satisfaction. It is also a popular and requested positive conflict resolution strategy for school-based disciplinary cases.
Those interested in learning more about the restorative justice circle and volunteering should contact Parker at 719-530-5597 or firstname.lastname@example.org.