From April 10 to April 13, Grace College Varsity Mediation Team members Mary Wick, Jacob McCarthy, Drake Darrah, Young Sun Seong and Ashley Brewster attended the Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP) in Elkhart, Indiana. VORP is a mediation process that focuses on “restorative justice.” Instead of merely sentencing a criminal for the crime committed, the program brings together the victim and the offender to offer reconciliation and closure for both parties.
VORP mediation occurs when a case, usually involving juvenile offenders, is referred to the program by the courts. Two mediators — usually one of the program’s employees and a trained volunteer —facilitate a conversation between the victim and the offender in an attempt to ensure that both parties leave satisfied and with a sense of closure.
At the conclusion of the training, each participant at VORP received official certification as a trained VORP mediator, granting him or her the opportunity to serve as a volunteer mediator in Indiana’s VORP program.
“It was great to see the positive impact people of faith are having on the criminal justice system by promoting restorative justice through programs like VORP,” said Wick. “My favorite part was hearing the testimony of a former criminal who found redemption in Christ and now helps offenders turn their lives around.”