Full Circle Restorative Justice recently welcomed three new dogs and handlers to its Paws for Peace program.
The program started with two dogs and handlers and now has five dogs and handlers who have all sat in on victim-offender “circles.”
Full Circle facilitates the “circles,” where the victim of a crime, the offender of a crime and a community member sit together with a mediator, a dog and a handler to resolve problems.
Full Circle Restorative Justice staff and volunteers sit with dogs who are involved in the Paws for Peace program. From left are Ruth Phillips and dog Abby, Greg Phillips, Patty LaTaille and Kharmalita, Paula Barclay and Keet, Sue Armijo with Ringo and Molly Leach, Full Circle executive director. Keet and Ringo are two of the three new dogs Full Circle has recruited. Photo by Guinne Stropes
“Therapy dogs remove the tension that is an element of conflict to a level that helps people feel safe to express how they’re feeling about what’s happened,” said Molly Leach, executive director.
Patty LaTaille, former executive director, said she thinks the tension in victim-offender circles could be “cut with a knife,” but having the therapy dogs there helps level the playing field.
“Having trained dogs adds a powerful element that possibly can’t be achieved by people, because dogs open us up and calm us down,” Leach said.
The calming affect of dogs can be attributed to neuroscience. The presence of dogs releases dopamine, which makes people happy, Leach said.
“Everyone likes dogs, and having the dogs here helps people find common ground,” she said.
Before dogs and handlers can be part of the circles, the handler must take a two-day course of facilitation and etiquette, Leach said. All dogs must be certified therapy dogs, and they have to be trained to sit in a circle as well.
“All of our new dogs have already sat in on some circles,” Leach said. “It’s not a long process getting the dogs ready. It’s really a mentor program, where the new dog will meet an older dog who’s already done this and see how it’s done.”
Leach thanked Laura Pintane with Therapy Dogs of Chaffee County for all the support shown to Full Circle. She said anyone interested in supporting the Paws for Peace program should visit fullcirclerj.net and donate to the program or purchase a T-shirt.
“We’re in our holiday fundraising time, and I’d like for everyone to know you can donate at fullcirclerj.net – the donation button isn’t hidden anymore. We’re also selling our Paws for Peace T-shirts. All donations are tax-deductible,” she said.
She said the organization hosts community potlucks, which are open to anyone interested, and anyone interested should visit the online calendar for dates and times.
Thank you for your contributions! It is because of our wonderful community that we continue to expand and grow!
November 15, 2017
Dear Friends and Supporters,
Full Circle Restorative Justice (FCRJ; 501(c)3) serves the 11th Judicial Districtof Colorado and has provided restorative practices and programming in Chaffee County and surrounding counties since April 2006. Restorative Justice (RJ) is a victim-centered process and is a different way of thinking about crime and our response to crime which:
focuses on repairing the harm caused by crime and reducing future harm through crime prevention
requires juvenile offenders to take responsibility for their actions and for the harm they have caused
seeks redress for victims, recompense by offenders and reintegration of both within the community
requires a cooperative effort by communities and the government
This is our twelfth year serving Chaffee County, and in that time we’ve worked with a majority of juveniles and adult cases referred to us by our DA, Judges, Police, Schools and parents. The impact of RJ in Colorado shows a 9% recidivism rate–meaning those who complete RJ programs are much less likely to re-offend within a year, compared to a 70% rate of re-offense for offenders that are prosecuted through the criminal justice system.
Participation in our process involves many members of our community. Mr. Fernando Garcia, who serves as Regional Assets Manager for Safeway, says that FCRJ…
“…brings communities together. The fact that [FCRJ] brings victims to the table and allows them the opportunity to verbally share their losses, their damages and their emotions is of utmost importance to everyone in the room. Also vital is the education that everyone in the room receives, which is beneficial for the community as a whole.”
Thank you for helping keep our youth engaged in a positive conflict resolution process which results in a safer community. Your tax-deductible Holiday Contribution will go directly to help support FCRJ programming in Chaffee County and beyond. Please check out our 2017 Highlights, and use the form and SASE to easily return your contribution. Most of all, thank you for all you do to make this a very special place to live.
Many Thanks & Happy Holidays,
Molly Leach, Executive Director
Full Circle Restorative Justice – PO BOX 699 – Salida, CO 81201 Office: 719-530-5597| www.fullcirclerj.net | Like us on FB! *FCRJ is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization EIN 26-1418606
CURRENT FCRJ PROGRAMS & HIGHLIGHTS
Victim – Offender Conferencing and Restorative Circles – Full Circle Restorative Justice fosters a dialogue between offender and victim, draws up a contract which calls for specific steps offenders must take to repair the harm, and has shown high rates of victim satisfaction, accountability by the offender, and reduced recidivism.
Paws For Peace – We offer Certified Therapy Dogs in our program, nationally recognized as one of the first programs combining restorative practices with the compassion of canines.
Restorative Justice in Schools – FCRJ continues to build partnerships with Chaffee County K-12 schools to collaborate in implementing peer mediation, restorative practices, and nonviolent communication into the school culture. We have also received direct school referrals.
Representatives of Full Circle Restorative Justice celebrate with Chaffee County commissioners Tuesday after the commissioners issued a proclamation designating October as Conflict Resolution Month. From left are Patty LaTaille, Former Full Circle Executive Director; Commissioner Keith Baker; Commissioner Dave Potts; Commissioner Greg Felt; and Molly Leach, Full Circle Executive Director.
Effective Justice for Local Businesses – FCRJ has built relationships with Chaffee County businesses that help prevent theft and provide processes which focus on accountability and the impact on business owners.
Police, Community & Court Referrals – FCRJ receives direct Police referrals and Municipal Court referrals. FCRJ also received direct referrals from parents and community members.
Building Community Alliances – FCRJ is an active member of the Chaffee County Youth Alliance and of both Salida and Buena Vista Chambers of Commerce.
Prison Programs – FCRJ works with Jennie Curtis and the Insight Prison Project to provide 12-week VOEG (Victim Offender Education Group) Trainings for inmates at Buena Vista Correctional Facility, and more recently at Canon City’s Correctional Facilities.
“Chaffee County’s collaboration with and support of Full Circle Restorative Justice establishes the precedent of serving Victims and Youth involved in the criminal justice system with a positive approach to repairing harm and relationships within the community.” -Official Proclamation from Chaffee County’s Board of Commissioners Excerpted from “October is Conflict Resolution Month” 10/10/17
Don’t want to donate online? Feel free to print this coupon and mail to us!
Full Circle Restorative Justice, PO Box 699, Salida CO 81201
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Please make checks payable to FCRJ (Full Circle Restorative Justice) & detach this coupon and mail with enclosed return envelope
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Increase public awareness through outreach and education
Train volunteer facilitators
Benefits of FCRJ
Gives victims a voice in the justice process
Enables offenders to understand the impact of their actions on a victim, as well as the community
Provides opportunities for offenders to repair the harm and to help ensure positive future choices
Saves taxpayer money
We depend on and greatly appreciate grant funding and individual donations to support our work. Please consider donating.
Here at FCRJ, we are filled with gratitude and wish to celebrate all of the Achievements that our FCRJ Family contributed to this past year.
We would not be in the position where we are today – Fully funded – with 10 Board Members & a Powerhouse of Volunteers & back at the table with the main stakeholders of the Juvenile Justice System in the 11th Judicial district!
We could not have accomplished so much without the energy & efforts & support which each our Valued Volunteers provided with such a generosity of spirit & the caring for community they all represent so wonderfully!!
It is an honor and a privilege to assist in leading this organization in the direction we have set together – and continuing to “Be the Change We Wish to See in this World!”
The Full Circle Board of Directors includes residents of Chaffee, Fremont and Saguache counties dedicated to the promotion of restorative justice as a recidivism prevention and community-building process. The focus of Restorative Justice is not punitive, but rather on addressing and resolving the underlying issues and conflict inherent in a dispute. Full Circle conference facilitators are trained to reach an understanding of the situation. Facilitators mediate conflict and develop a written agreement which addresses the issues and focuses on repairing the harm done — by means of restitution, community service, and other sanctions. See our new Restorative Justice Resource page.
“FCRJ works to implement restorative practices in the Schools and Justice System by promoting a peaceful Community Justice approach to Conflict Resolution; while helping repair the harm caused by criminal behaviors through a Restorative Justice process which holds offenders accountable, and empowers and heals victims and communities.”
Full Circle services provide an opportunity within the 11th Judicial District of Colorado for alternative dispute resolution and restorative justice, in addition to minimizing an offender’s involvement with the legal system.