JUST Alternatives is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to supporting victims/survivors of violence and violation, and to the advancement of promising, rigorously 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 supporting crime victims’ needs, and the power of personal accountability among offenders.
Victims and Survivors of Violence and Violation are at the very Center of our Mission. Making Offenders understand the Impacts of the choices they made to traumatize, hurt, or kill others is an equally essential part of what we do.
Our Victim/Survivor Support work is rooted in the 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 offer opportunities for survivors to feel heard through supporting conversation, correspondence, or advocacy.
Our Victim-Centered Victim Offender Dialogue (VOD) work provides safe opportunities for survivors of violence and violation to give direct and powerful voice to the trauma of their experiences, and for offenders, especially those who have committed severely violent crimes, to face more fully the terrible impacts and effects of their choices and actions. A clearer way to think of Victim Offender Dialogues is as Victim Impact Dialogues, where survivors can more fully describe the impacts directly to the offenders. And while VOD may not be for every survivor, our victim-centered/offender-sensitive approach can enable unique opportunities for them.
At its very best, Victim-Centered 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 sometimes enable in offenders a more personal understanding of the impacts and effects of their crimes, a deeper sense of personal accountability, and sometimes, a change in their thinking. This could lead to a self-actualized commitment to more pro-social choices and behaviors. For answers to some of the more frequent questions about VOD, click the Victim Offender Dialogue FAQs buttons – for Survivors and/or Offenders. For more on Victim Impacts, and movingly powerful examples of Statements by survivors, click the Victim Impact Statements button at left.
Our rigorously Victim-Centered VOD Facilitator Training for corrections-based Victim Service and allied agencies – anchored in an understanding of the profound effects of violence and victimization upon individuals and families – provide effective tools and skills for facilitators. For CV information on trainer Jon Wilson, Director of JUST Alternatives, see About Us.
FOR ARTICLES ON the work of JUST Alternatives, see:
–Yankee magazine, Jan/Feb 2011
Jon Wilson Making a Difference
–Christian Science Monitor, 4/9/2012