By Kathy Chouteau
Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton’s Office is on the lookout for volunteer community safety panelists to help survivors of crime recover from ensuing trauma via the Neighborhood Restorative Partnership Program (NRP). The call for assistance comes just ahead of National Crime Victims’ Rights week April 23-29.
The panelists will aid the work of the NRP, a community-based program that puts victims first by working to help their healing process and rebuild their lives following a crime. NRP was originated by the County D.A.’s Office as a program that “moves beyond a one-size-fits-all approach to crime,” per the office.
D.A. Becton said “Victims of crime are often the last ones to receive help in terms of counseling and other resources,” and noted that while the state budget allocates about $50 billion annually for law enforcement, prisons and county jails, victim-centered services and programs only receive around $100 million.
NRP works with safety panelists to address misdemeanors like vandalism, alcohol control violations and quality-of-life crimes. The panelists are selected via an application and screening process and receive training via the D.A.’s office. They are then “empowered with the authority–pursuant to PC 14150-14156—to mediate certain types of misdemeanor offenses,” per the D.A.’s office.
NRP Community Safety Panelist Susan Hildreth heralded the program as a “great opportunity for community members to work together in a safe, open and confidential setting, to achieve positive outcomes for victims, participants and the community.”
Contra Costa residents wanting to apply to become a community safety panelist should apply here. Completed applications can be emailed to: [email protected] or sent by mail to: The Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office, Attn: Janet Era, Neighborhood Restorative Partnership, 900 Ward St., 2nd Floor, Martinez, CA 94553.