JUST Alternatives is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to supporting victims/survivors of violence and violation, and to the advancement of promising Victim-Centered practices in justice and corrections. Our mission is to identify and support effective alternative approaches to reducing violence and victimization in our culture by affirming crime victims’ needs and the power of personal accountability among violent offenders. We strive to cultivate a broader understanding of victims’ issues, offender issues, effective corrections practices, and the relationship of each to the safety of our communities.
Our Victim/Survivor Support work is rooted in the simple power of deep, compassionate, and non-judgmental listening to victims and survivors of traumatic violence, violation, and loss. We know how alone they can feel in the unrelenting aftermath of violence, loss, and post-traumatic stress, and how hard it can be for victims/survivors to feel heard — by the justice system, by society, and even by close family and friends. We work to provide opportunities for these survivors to feel heard through supporting conversation, correspondence, or advocacy. We know the power of deep listening – without judgment or expectation. For those who need most to be heard, listening with empathy and compassion is one of the most generous gifts any of us can give.
Our Victim Offender Dialogue (VOD) work provides safe opportunities for survivors of violence and violation to give direct and powerful voice to the unrelenting trauma of their experiences, and for violent offenders to face more fully the terrible effects of their actions. While VOD is not for every survivor, our victim-centered/offender-sensitive approach can enable unique opportunities. At its very best, VOD can provide survivors with a chance to be heard directly by their offenders, and to get answers to some of their questions. This in turn can enable in offenders a more personal understanding of the effects of their crimes and violations, a deeper sense of personal accountability, and often, a self-actualized commitment to change and to rehabilitation. When offenders more personally understand the deep effects of violence and victimization, most of them want to change how they think and behave. VOD does not insure that they’ll succeed, but it makes change a little more possible than it was before. For answers to frequent questions about VOD, click the Victim Offender Dialogue FAQs buttons – for Survivors and/or Offenders.
Our VOD Facilitator Training programs for corrections-based Victim Service and allied agencies – anchored in an understanding of the profound effects of violence and victimization upon individuals, families, and communities – provide tools and skills to help make new meaning from both the victim/survivor and the violent offender experience.
In addition to our direct training, educational, and liaison work with victims/survivors, offenders, service providers, and community members, our efforts include research and presentations that focus on the conditions underlying violence and victimization, and explore promising approaches to issues of incarceration, accountability, rehabilitation, re-entry, and recidivism in the United States and around the world.
For information on the related training and experience of Jon Wilson, the Director of JUST Alternatives, see About Us.