Since our last update we are grateful to have had wonderful responses and words of encouragement from so many people. These validations of the extensive work and research that we have put into RJBehindtheWire keep us motivated and focused. RJBehindtheWire continues to draw attention from within the Commonwealth of Virginia, across the U.S., and much to our surprise, from the international restorative justice community as well.
In January 2016 we will be celebrating the two year anniversary of the BARK Beyond Bars program at Green Rock. We have worked very hard to make this program a success from its inception and our current group of six dogs are shaping up to be our best trained graduates thus far. Having helped shape fifty-four dogs over the past two years, we continue to become more efficient and effective in training these abandoned and rescued companions, consequently increasing their potential for successful adoption. Through the BARK program we are able to feel a small sense of personal expiation to the community and pride in our accomplishment with each adopted dog.
As we are striving to finalize the curriculum of Mending Fences, our victim oriented offended rehabilitation program, we plan to enhance the framework based partially on suggestions provided by various prominent restorative justice practitioners. Over the past year we have expanded our knowledge within the purview of restorative practices and we are both currently working towards certifications in Victim Advocacy through Virginia Tech which is providing us deeper insight. Though it is a considerable task, especially in our circumstances, we are confident that we will be able to fully develop Mending Fences into a model restorative justice program for delivery in the correctional environment.
Finally, we are excited for the final report of the bi-partisan Virginia Parole Review & Update Commission which is due to Governor Terry McAuliffe on December 4, 2015. We are aware that restorative justice advocates have attended and made presentations at meetings of the Commission. One of the five priorities that the Commission is charged with is recommending mediation strategies that are "cost saving, evidence-based and multi-faceted approaches to reducing crime while also improving outcomes for offenders, families, and communities". Coupled with the 2010 Virginia State Crime Commission Report on Restorative Justice (Report Document No. 48), we believe that the Parole Review & Update Commission's conclusions and recommendations will help to advance restorative justice initiatives in the Commonwealth as well as within Virginia's correctional facilities.
We continue be grateful and appreciative of all the support, encouragement, and guidance we are receiving from not only the restorative justice community, but also from family, friends, and supporters of innovative methods of rehabilitation and correction. We will continue to dedicate ourselves to developing effective and healing programming options that further address the criminogenic needs of Virginia's offender population.