About Full Circle Restorative Justice
Full Circle Restorative Justice (FCRJ) of the 11th Judicial District of Colorado has been serving the Salida, Buena Vista and Canon City communities since April 15, 2009. FCRJ was founded in 2006 by Dianne Walker. Restorative Justice (RJ) is based on a theory of justice and a global social change movement that endorses peaceful approaches to harm, problem-solving and violations of legal and human rights. As a result of the Board of Directors’ diligence and community support, RCRJ initially provided community education on the concepts of restorative justice, trained volunteer conference facilitators, and was awarded non-profit 501c3 status in April 2009. The majority of Board members has been trained as volunteer facilitators by Restorative Solutions, LLC, and has devoted a significant amount of volunteer time for FCRJ as a start-up with limited grass-roots funding.
Executive Director – Molly Leach
FCRJ is honored and excited to welcome Molly Leach on board. Ms. Leach is the founder and executive producer of Restorative Justice on The Rise, a nationally regarded podcast and resource hub for dialogue and education on RJ and related peacebuilding topics founded in 2011 and featuring dialogues with the world’s leaders in restorative justice, including Howard Zehr, Kay Pranis, Dr. Johan Galtung, Fania Davis, James O’Dea, Bryan Stevenson, and many others. She is a certified facilitator and has worked cases in both the San Luis Valley and Chaffee County.
She served for 3.5 years as Restorative Justice Fellow at The Peace Alliance, and is a high-level partner with the NACRJ. Her devotion to the field combines in-the-trenches work in schools and prisons as well as catalyzing re-entry programs. She has trained and facilitated with globally respected restorative practices leaders such as Dominic Barter and Sylvia Clute, and here in Colorado was an apprentice of sorts to the late and deeply respected Dr. Beverly Title, founder of the Longmont Community Justice Partnership. She has been indirectly involved with the state council and supporting political advocacy in Colorado and nationally since 2012, forming a friendship with Rep. Pete Lee and offering virtual town halls to address positives and push-backs around the exponential growth of RJ in Colorado and beyond.
She was producer and host of “Teaching Peace in Schools”, a wildly successful 10-week webinar co-hosted by RJ on The Rise, The Peace Alliance and the NACRJ addressing how restorative justice and other topics such as SEL and mindfulness can help transform school communities. It featured 4500 participants from across the country and continent, and guidance from field leaders such as Dominic Barter (Restorative Circles), Kay Pranis, Nancy Riestenberg, Carolyn Boyes-Watson, Rep. Tim Ryan, and CamishaFatimah Gentry.
Ms. Leach is a syndicated writer and journalist, with her works featured at such high-traffic sites as Truth-Out, Open Democracy, YES! Magazine online, Daily Good, and a chapter in the upcoming Oxford University Press anthology, “Current Debates in Peace and Conflict Studies”.
Above all, she is a mother of 11 year old David, and has coached for Chaffee County United Soccer Club since 2014. Her family enjoys skiing/snowboarding, river-watching, and hiking. She is also involved as a guest DJ at KHEN, offering justice and youth related programming and sitting in for regular DJs.
Connect with Molly on Twitter at @mollyrowanleach, at LinkedIn and on Facebook.
JD Longwell – Part-Time Staff and Adviser
John-David Longwell (JD) has been a lead facilitator with FCRJ since 2012 and served on the Board of Directors from 2014-2017. After spending over twenty-five years in international banking and trade finance, he left the corporate sector and began pursuing his passion for working with others around conflict resolution, non-violent communication and group facilitation. In 2015, he completed his basic mediation training and complemented that with additional course work on conflict coaching, divorce mediation, Voice Dialog and Integral Coaching™. JD is listed as a Professional Mediator with the Mediation Association of Colorado and is a contractor with Colorado’s Office of Dispute Resolution for mediation services in the 7th Judicial District (Gunnison, Montrose and Delta Counties). JD offers mediation and coaching services through his company, Point of Connection, LLC in Salida.
JD has been an active member of the community since moving to Chaffee County in 2008. He has served eight years as a board member and treasurer for the Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA) and currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Town of Poncha Springs. He lives with his wife, MaryAnn, and their two dogs – Daisy Mae and Frodo – in Poncha Springs, CO.
Contractor and Advisor – Patricia LaTaille
Currently the Executive Director of the non-profit Full Circle Restorative Justice (FCRJ) based in Salida, Colorado, USA, Ms. LaTaille’s professional background revolves around Social Justice and Communications in various venues.
She is the Lead Facilitator and Trainer for Victim-Offender conferencing, as well as serving as a Professional Mediator (Keeping The Peace, LLC) privately, and within the Judicial system. Ms. LaTaille is a professional Meeting Facilitator and an international speaker on methods of Non Violent Communication (NVC). Her experience as a Rotary Peace Fellow, in Bangkok, Thailand in 2015, was a pivotal point in her career as an International Peace Professional.
Ms. LaTaille has formally presented Restorative Justice – Not an Oxymoron at the Senate Bill 94 Conference in Vail, CO in 2014, and for the Mountain BOCES Webinar series on Implementing Restorative Practices in the Classroom. In April 2016 she presented Restorative Justice & Humanizing the Justice System – A Common Sense Approach at the Women’s Economic Forum in New Delhi, India.
Ms. LaTaille holds a graduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She was employed by I.B.M. in Boulder, CO, as a Communications Architect. Ms. Lataille has a number of published works and photos in corporate and media publications, regional newspapers and magazines, and in Chicken Soup for the Working Woman’s Soul. She is currently writing a Children’s book.
Ms. LaTaille enjoys spending time with young people and has more than twenty-two years of experience in working with high-‐risk adolescents, in addition to founding and managing a number of sustainable youth programs.
She was born and lived in Long Island, New York, and has now resided in the Colorado mountains with her dogs – furry family members – for 22 years. You can find her on FB, Linked In, fullcirclerj.net and keepingthepeacemediation.com well as facilitating victim – offender conferences.
The mission of Full Circle Restorative Justice is to provide alternative dispute resolution and facilitation within the 11th Judicial District of Colorado. Full Circle Restorative Justice’s Mission Statement:
“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.”
The Full Circle Restorative Justice Board of Directors includes residents of Chaffee, and Fremont 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 each unique 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. Offenders have the choice to fulfill their mutually-agreeable contracts or return to the court system.
Full Circle Restorative Justice Board of Directors
FCRJ is fortunate to have our Board of Directors: Frank Holman – President, JD Longwell – Treasurer, Peter Simonson, Alison Brown, Kris Ellisor, Forrest Whitman and Zechariah Papp, together with our greatly “Valued Volunteers” who serve as RJ Facilitators and in many other capacities.
FCRJ exists today because of our amazing volunteers – they are our most important resources and we love and appreciate each & every one!
Victim – Offender Conferencing and Restorative Circles
Full Circle provides a safe framework of conferencing to meet the needs of victims, communities, schools and offenders, while minimizing the youth involvement within the legal system. Restorative Justice involves a fostering of dialogue between the offender and the victim, and has shown the highest rates of victim satisfaction, true accountability by the offender, and reduced recidivism.
Restorative Justice in the Schools Project
FCRJ has reached out to the local schools to collaborate in implementing peer mediation, restorative practices, and nonviolent communication into the school culture. This project grew out of requests from parents and the schools for bullying prevention/intervention and a desire for systemic social change. FCRJ is excited about these possibilities and needs additional funds to cover staff to implement programs.
- Awarded State of Colorado Juvenile Diversion Restorative Justice Grant!
- $50K and then a Budget Revision for an additional $35K =$85,039.
- Attending State RJ council quarterly meetings
- Strategy meeting with FCRJ Board and State Coordinator for State RJ Council
- Tracking cases in state required database, submitted Quarter 1 reports, and received reimbursement for operating, scheduled for first site visit January 13
- Successful Annual Golf Fundraiser with great Chaffee County and community support $5,000+ recommended for $1,000 in funding from Town of Buena Vista
- Received funding from DHS $7,500
- Received funding from #1451 $10,000
- RJ presentation at CCHS in the Spring
- Peer Mediation Training with Longfellow Elementary 4th graders
- 2 week Peer Mediation training at Horizons Exploratory Academy Collaboration with HEA to write EARSS grant
- Collaboration with HEA to write EARSS grant
- Presentations and collaborative work with Park County – Fairplay School Board and interacted with parents and students with volunteers & therapy dog at Back to School Night
- Receiving referrals from HEA and CCHS due to relationships and connections built there Cases
- 13 Pre-Conferences
- 9 Victim-Offender Circles
- 8 Accountability Meetings – more in progress
- Referrals received from Schools, DA’s office, and the Chaffee Courts
- Recommendation for referrals from law enforcement from Salida and BV Police Department
- Referrals seem to be on the rise with continued collaboration
Community Networking – outreach
- Spearheaded the Chaffee Coalition for Youth (CCY) beginning September; 4 meetings to date
- Presented “Paws and Peace – the Use of Therapy Dogs in Restorative Circles” at State RJ conference in Boulder & ED attended sessions
- Organized County Commissioners work session to address lack of a formalized diversion program in Chaffee County
- Working toward streamlining discussions pertaining to Chaffee County youth and services
- Meeting with Judge Murphy, DA’s, and DHS, probation and public defender to discuss RJ referrals & process
- Prison program “Insight Prison Project – Victim Offender Education Group” (VOEG) up and running at the Buena Vista Correctional Facility
- Taught Mountain BOCES webinar for incorporating RJ in classrooms
- Salida Soup presentation
- Receiving positive media and press coverage
- Hosted the first State Quarterly meeting
- Ed presented at the AA regional conference in Salida
- 11 Monthly Board meetings and 11 facilitator trainings
- Added new members to the Board of Directors – a total of 10 Directors
- Sarah completed her 1 year internship with “flying colors” ☺ – Jess stepped up & stepped in as Program Coordinator and contributed mightily (yet then moved back to Denver) ☺ ☹ – Hired Kayla with the easiest transition ever ☺ – and we carry on – FCRJ STRONG!
- Two supervised college level academic internships (one year of Master’s level internship)
- Developed and finalized Policies and Procedures Manual
- Board Member Alison Brown and ED Patty received awards and spoke at Women’s Economic Forum in New Delhi, India
- Full weekend training with experienced trainer from Rifle facility for Insight Prison Project
- Received generous in kind support from Chaffee County and moved to new location at County Courthouse
Progress through the Years
Full Circle Restorative Justice works hard to meet Community Justice Needs. With two part-time staff and amazing assistance from college interns, we are happy to note FCRJ’s Success as we continue:
1) To promote the safety of our community by addressing juvenile and young adult offender accountability.
FCRJ continues to work with Juvenile and Adult case referrals from the D.A.’s Office, Probation & directly from Victims and Community Members.
2) To empower victims of all ages through a supportive conflict resolution process through dialogue with offenders, while introducing concepts of empathy and compassion.
FCRJ has successfully facilitated over 70 Victim-Offender Conferences with a high level of satisfaction as evaluated by all Circle participants. Victims are especially pleased with the process, in which they have a Voice – and input in the decision on how to repair the harm — by specifying community service work places with a specific number of hours, receiving payment for damages occurred and/or by working directly with the youth involved.
3) To give offenders an opportunity to take accountability, make restitution and move past shame, increasing his/her sense of self-worth and a connection to the community.
FCRJ provides opportunities for the offenders to connect with the Victims in a safe, supportive Circle environment, and then support the youth in meeting their contractual agreements to repair the harm. Both Victims and Offenders are in contact with Program Staff during each step of the process. Youth find a great deal of “relief and motivation” while building a positive sense of self-worth that is acknowledged in monthly Accountability and Support Circles attended by all youth with active RJ contracts. Successful completion and “Non-Recidivism” events are held to celebrate and promote youth and community member relationships.
4) To educate the community about the benefits of RJ, resulting in improved community awareness, involvement and satisfaction in helping individuals handle conflict in a positive constructive manner – and ultimately promote youth to remain productive and law-abiding citizens. (*Lowering the Recidivism rate!)
FCRJ continues with its community awareness campaigns and fundraising initiatives, as well as presenting in the local schools and meeting community needs. For example, FCRJ promoted the inclusion of Certified Therapy Dogs in Restorative approaches to conflict resolution – and is the first RJ program in the State of Colorado – and possibly the first in the Nation – to have Therapy Dogs with their handlers participate in Victim-Offender Conferences. FCRJ’s Executive Director Patty LaTaille, trained Facilitator and Dog Handler Terry Bolte with Dolores, the Therapy Dog, are scheduled to present “Paws and Peace – The Use of Therapy Dogs in RJ Circles” at the 2016 Colorado Restorative Justice Conference in Vail in September.
FCRJ completed a transitional year with major changes in the make-up and participation of the members of the Board of Directors. Once again, FCRJ has a strong working Board – now with eight members who are leading the organization in a positive direction. Chairman of the Board & Chaffee County Commissioner Frank Holman has led FCRJ into a County-supported workplace and set the wheels in motion for it to evolve into a County program.
Significant funding from the State of Colorado Juvenile Diversion ($50K) begins in July 2016 and will be used for Personnel expenses – providing a consistent presence in the community to provide services – now with a Full time Executive Director.
FCRJ will implement a 12 week “Prison Insight” program based on Restorative Practices taught by trained FCRL Facilitators in the Buena Vista Correctional Facility beginning in July. FCRJ has a “Powerhouse of Volunteers” – amazing and highly committed individuals that are the heart and soul of this organization. Please see Volunteer Profiles.
The community awareness and demand for program services has increased, yet due to limited funding and staffing resources, FCRJ has been limited in meeting those needs. For example, the FCRJ expansion in to Fremont County has been put on hold, although Juvenile Justice Personnel in Canon City are awaiting the implementation of an RJ program locally. This is slated to be in place by July 2017.
Raising funds to retain Jess Ervin, FCRJ Part Time Program Coordinator, is of utmost priority. Without her administrative work and program support, FCRJ would lack the staffing necessary to provide RJ services to the community. Jess is currently at 15 hours weekly and our goal is to reach twenty hours so she can potentially become a Chaffee County Employee with some benefits.
FCRJ Lesson Learned
The issue of overreaching current FCRJ staffing and resources to meeting community needs has been addressed initially by applying for and increasing funding resources. Staffing issues were resolved by hiring a Part Time Executive Director – now moving to Full Time – and hiring a Part Time Program Coordinator, in addition to supervising two capable Interns (undergraduate and graduate level). The FCRJ office was moved into the Chaffee County Courthouse and general operations expenses are now mainly covered. FCRJ also addressed the need to keep Trained Volunteers engaged and ready to take on the roles of Conference Facilitators and Co-Facilitators. FCRJ now offers continuous monthly Facilitator trainings and yummy potlucks, in addition to an intense full weekend training for the Prison Insight program.
With strong volunteer and community support, FCRJ continues to provide Victim/Offender Conferences for at-risk youth, and school programs
- Referred 19 new cases by the Office of. DA, Diversion, Probation, Courts and Schools where Victim/Offender conferences were conducted and 9 completed successfully in 2014. Completed 6 Educational Programs requested by local schools for Non-violent communication and Peer Mediation.
- Served over 50 teens in Fremont and Chaffee counties through activities with over 200 hours of supervised community service ordered through the courts.
- Received in-kind donations, in addition to 4 fundraisers, grants and other donations from the community and Foundations such as Anschutz.
- Over 1300 hours of Volunteer and In-Kind Services donated for Program Support, Fundraising, and Financial support.
- 8-10 Volunteer Board members actively involved in supporting the Program including a Youth voice and County Commissioner
- Recorded high satisfaction rates of participants in Restorative Circles; approximately 95% of participants rated it “very high”.
- Attended RJ Focus group organized by State to discuss current RJ Pilot in Colorado.
- Selected to present at SB94 Vail Conference in October where a mock Victim/Offender circle was conducted.
- Participated in HB1451 IOG monthly Board meetings and became official voting member in 2014.
- Received HB1451 grant to help fund Full Circle Restorative Justice Staff.
- Referrals from SB94 to serve at risk-youth for AAOpps & Program Funding.
- Attended the Colorado Coalition of Restorative Justice Director Meeting in Denver, CO.
- Live Radio performance on KHEN with Community Health and Justice Talks with Molly Rowan-Leach.
- Referred 13 new cases by the Office of. DA, Diversion, Probation, Courts and Schools where Victim/Offender conferences were conducted and completed 7 successfully in 2013.
- Participated in HB1451 IOG Committee Board and attend monthly meetings for input
- Received HB1451 Grant to help fund Full Circle Restorative Justice Staff
- Referrals from SB94 and MOU for Program Funding
- Conducted 10-12 actively involved Board members and dedicated community volunteers.
- Hosted Victim-Offender circles referred by the Asst. DA, Diversion, Probation, Courts and Schools.
- Recording high satisfaction rates of participants in Restorative Circles; approximately 95% of participants rated it “very high”.
- Attending RJ Summit in Denver and Rural Philanthropy Days to expand our knowledge and networking
- Applying for & receiving Grant funding and holding community awareness fundraisers and bake sales
- Collaborating with local schools and the Probation Dept. to utilize restorative practices
- Promoting use of Restorative Justice and Nonviolent Communication in the school districts
- Action Adventure Opportunities (AAOpps) served 80 – 100 teens in Fremont and Chaffee counties through activities and supervised group community service