RJBehindtheWire enters 2016 excited for the very many opportunities that are on the horizon for the advancement of restorative justice initiatives as well as the further development of Mending Fences and other initiatives we are working on. We will soon be certified by Virginia Tech as Victim Advocates which will not only provide us with broader insight into the impact of crime upon victims and their families, but also enhances the depth and efficacy of our program curriculum. 2016 is also shaping up as an important legislative year for restorative efforts in Virginia as well as other jurisdictions in the U.S.
To recap 2015, RJBehindheWire relaunched our website to increased traffic with more and more unique visitors each month, and our reach continues to trend upwards to five continents and all fifty states. We have drawn interest from multiple universities, restorative justice organizations, as well as providers of correctional restorative justice programming in other states. The Bark Behind Bars program that Shawn & Dustin initiated at Green Rock Correctional Center in partnership with Bandit's Adoption & Rescue of K-9's (www.barkva.org) graduated it's 48th abandoned and rescued dog. Upon completing their twelve weeks of training B.A.R.K.'s has successfully adopted out 44 of Green Rock's graduates, boasting a 92% success rate. On January 29 we graduated our latest group of six dogs. These dogs were featured in an article in the local paper, The Danville Register-Bee. Shawn's former trainee German Shepherd that is now with the Virginia State Police is written about in the article.
Shawn & Dusty continue to develop Mending Fences and are making progress towards completing what is shaping up to be a groundbreaking restorative program for offenders in search of healing and restoration. They also continue to develop other programs and initiatives to benefit victims and offenders alike and are actually constructing a second program framework to interface with Mending Fences.
In March 2016, representatives from RJBehindtheWire will be attending The University of Wisconsin's School of Criminal Justice conference on restorative justice. This will provide and excellent opportunity to network and expand our visibility to other restorative justice advocates and professionals on the national restorative justice stage.
RJBehindtheWire continues to be grateful for all our visitors support and encouragement. We hope to have some exciting news to announce in the coming months. We also continue to wait for the publishing of the Virginia Parole Review Commission Report. Please continue to check in with us for updates and like us on Facebook through the 'Contact Us' page on this site.
Best wishes to all in 2016!!!