Vermont Law School receives another $3 million federal grant for restorative justice center

With the help of U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, Vermont Law School received a second $3 million federal grant from the Department of Justice to continue running the National Center on Restorative Justice. The law school is the first to host the center, offering a degree program and summer institute.

“Prison reform cannot just mean changing how we house offenders. We need to rethink our approach to the entire justice system,” said Senator Leahy in a statement. “The National Center on Restorative Justice is leading a national discussion on how we can effectively and proactively implement restorative justice initiatives that support our communities, as well as our incarcerated population.

The National Center was launched in the spring of 2020 by VLS in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice, the University of Vermont and the University of San Diego. The new funding will be used to expand access to restorative justice education and provide targeted training to public safety officials, other professionals and communities, as well as to coordinate a national conversation around the topic.

“This is going to make a difference in peoples’ lives across the country,” said Stephanie Clark, director of the NCRJ and an assistant professor at VLS. 

VLS is the first law school in the country to offer a Master of Arts in Restorative Justice in addition to the JD degree. VLS also offers a 9-credit Professional Certificate in Restorative Justice designed to introduce restorative theories and practices to professionals from various fields.