Mediation for victims of crimes, their families and the offenders is a large part of finding restitution for the crime and from having that crime reoccur. The Victim Offender Reconciliation Program, based in Fresno, California, is a faith-based nonprofit organization that provides voluntary, non-fee mediation services to victims of juvenile crime and their offenders.

The Victim Offender Reconciliation Program began in 1982 in Fresno County and is based on the Biblical Vision of Shalom (Whole-Making Peace). The program sees this as existing when there are right-relations between fellow human beings, and between people and God.

We specifically exist to encourage and assist the church in her mission of providing an invitation to, and an opportunity for, peacemaking (healing, restoration, forgiveness, and reconciliation) in the conflict between victims and offenders of juvenile crime.

The Victim Offender Reconciliation Program is founded on the principles of restorative justice and includes community participation  – allowing the community to become involved in addressing the needs of local people. This cooperative work helps to ensure community safety.

Trained volunteer mediators work face-to-face with juvenile criminals and their victims to facilitate a dialog between them. The person responsible for the crime is held accountable for their actions and given an opportunity to make things right. Victims have their questions answered and their restitution and emotional needs met. Both parties have a significant voice in how the crime is addressed to meet their unique personal needs and concerns.

Since 1982 the Victim Offender Reconciliation Program of the Central Valley has been bringing victims and offenders together in safe mediation or family group conference settings to permit the offender to take responsibility for his or her actions, to make things as right as possible with the victim, and to be clear about future intentions. VORP follows up to ensure that agreements are kept.

Helping with these services are volunteers who go through 9 hours of classroom training and 8 hours of field training before they work their first victim/offender case. Further obligations require that you serve as a mediator on 2 additional cases during the first year. Training for this important position of mediator is provided by the staff of the Victim Offender Reconciliation Program in Fresno, California.

If you are interested in participating in this program – please read more here.

About Christopher Zoukis, MBA

Christopher Zoukis, MBA, is the Managing Director of the Zoukis Consulting Group, a federal prison consultancy that assists attorneys, federal criminal defendants, and federal prisoners with prison preparation, in-prison matters, and reentry. His books include Directory of Federal Prisons (Middle Street Publishing, 2020), Federal Prison Handbook (Middle Street Publishing, 2017), Prison Education Guide (PLN Publishing, 2016), and College for Convicts: The Case for Higher Education in American Prisons (McFarland & Company, 2014).

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