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Who We Are

Our History

In the fall of 1997, two community leaders in Concord, Massachusetts — Jean Bell and Joan Turner — organized a community forum on restorative justice. When 230 interested people showed up, they knew they were onto something. But how and where could a restorative justice program be housed, even if there were dozens of interested volunteers? A prominent partner emerged: Concord Police Chief Len Wetherbee. He asserted, “The undertaking is enormous…but we’re not going to let this drop.”

After diligent research and training, the Concord Police Department referred the first case in 2000. Neighboring Carlisle quickly expressed interest in the innovative response to crime. The two programs soon joined forces, giving rise to Communities for Restorative Justice and a formal board structure. With other towns intrigued with the restorative justice option, training began in earnest with residents from all over the region. Today, the volunteer force has reached 100.

The moral of this story: never underestimate the power of two.

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