Our version of Restorative Justice emphasizes ways to assist those who have been harmed to give voice to the full impact of what they’ve experienced. We also ensure that their needs for safety and healing will be addressed, and that they will have a powerful voice in shaping what form justice should take. Second, our approach to Restorative Justice emphasizes ways that those who have committed harm may step into accountability and be restored to their best selves. A beginning step on this road is to fully face the extent of the harm they have caused by hearing directly from the people who have been harmed. Third, our orientation to Restorative Justice addresses ways that communities torn apart by violence and trauma may find a way to bind themselves together again.
Board Vice President
Elizabeth Chapman discovered a connection with people through the creation of pleasing spaces in which to live and work. The themes of reverence for our interconnected lives runs through the different areas of Elizabeth’s work. The practice of architecture allows an introvert to be profoundly involved with every aspect of other's lives. One deeply meaningful method of connecting with people is through the creation of supportive and pleasing spaces in which to live and work. Reflecting on how best to support human interactions with the built environment was the ground from which her interest in restorative justice originated. Being a parent was the setting in which an understanding for deep listening, and the healing it offers, took hold. Elizabeth started the Portland Center for Restorative Justice at First Parish Unitarian Church. Elizabeth holds a Master of Architecture from MIT, and a Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University. She teaches courses in sensory neuroscience at the University of Southern Maine’s senior college.
Fred Van Liew is a lawyer, trainer, mediator, facilitator, and writer. He divides his time between Portland and Des Moines, Iowa, his hometown. When in Maine, he facilitates community conversations on racial bias, gender, economic inequality and other issues, and serves as the Restorative Justice Coordinator for the Cumberland County District Attorney Office. When in Iowa, Fred is active as a facilitator, trainer and lecturer through his business, Van Liew Mediation. Fred first learned of Restorative Justice as a prosecutor in 1991, and for nearly two decades initiated and fostered Restorative justice within the Polk County, Iowa Criminal and Juvenile Justice Systems. Restorative justice has changed Fred’s life, both personally and professionally, and he feels that our world desperately needs its potential for healing and transformation. Since retiring from government service in 2010, Fred has pursued graduate studies in Conflict Transformation and applied restorative practices to family, school, workplace, church and community conflicts. Fred is married, the father of five and grandfather of four. He enjoys bicycling, hiking, camping, travel, and being reminded by his grandchildren of what it means to be a kid. He is the author of The Justice Diary, A Third Half Journal, and Walt’s Last Year.
Rachel Casey is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of Southern Maine, where she teaches both undergraduate and graduate social work students. Before earning her doctorate in social work at Virginia Commonwealth University, Rachel worked as a mental health clinician in a women's prison. Frustrated by the many injustices she witnessed in the field of corrections, Rachel developed an interest in restorative justice as a possible alternative to traditional criminal justice approaches. Her experiences with restorative justice have shown her that transformative healing can take place when people engage deeply and honestly with one another. Rachel also conducts research about the experiences of incarcerated people. Her past projects have illuminated incarcerated women's experiences with mental health services and the impact of healing circle participation for incarcerated indigenous people. When she's not working, Rachel enjoys spending time at home with her spouse and two cats, reading or playing board games. As a recent transplant to Maine, Rachel has relished exploring the Portland food scene as well as the natural beauty of Maine's beaches and forests.
Jim Sparks is a psychologist in Portland who was originally drawn to restorative justice for its compelling vision of repair, redemption, and the return of community. He was first exposed to restorative justice practices while offering training at a Massachusetts prison, and felt moved and renewed by the sense of hope, community and accountability. A quality that keeps him engaged in the work is witnessing the way people can be powerfully changed through this process, with identities reshaped and significant transformations of painful experience. As a psychologist, Jim has published articles about navigating power in supervision, and evoking the “insider knowledge” of those who have lived through problems. He has also written about the impact on clients’ identities of participating in multi-layered conversations with therapeutic “reflecting teams.” A former newspaper reporter, Jim has for many years been captivated by language and the ways lives are shaped by personal, familial and cultural stories. Jim is married with two children. When he is not working, he enjoys trying to stay fit by participating in triathlons, and tries to never take for granted the perpetually changing beauty of the Maine coastline.
Charles “Kim” Coit, JD, practiced law in Boston before moving to Maine in 1977. (He is pleased to report that “he never looked back”). In Maine, his professional work has been in real estate, as compliance officer for several of Maine’s largest real estate brokerage companies, founding a proprietary real estate school and writing and publishing three textbooks. For many years he mentored young people at Long Creek Youth Development Center, and he served as President of the Friends of Long Creek. His driving interest is social justice, a commitment that sustains his current membership on three boards: The Portland Center for Restorative Justice, The Covenant Community Land Trust in Hancock County (providing low income housing), and Community Compass on the Blue Hill Peninsula. The work in the Blue Hill area is focused on early childhood development and enhanced school performance of students, all with the end result of breaking the cycle of poverty.
Julia Coit is an epidemiologist, ethnographer and storyteller. She has over 10 years of experience conducting and overseeing infectious disease and maternal and child health research with global NGOs and most recently, Harvard Medical School. Throughout her career, she has had the privilege of traveling, living and working in Latin America, and it was through this experience that she came to a critical realization: it all starts with human connection. It was this realization that led her to create a joint venture with her sister that inspires meaningful connection over meals cooked over an open fire. She now works as a consultant helping organizations create more human-centric solutions by leading with empathy. While Julia is inspired by the different applications of restorative justice, she's especially interested in how it could give executives the space to open up in meaningful ways, opening the door for real work to begin. Julia is excited to bring her unique research skill set and passion for human connection to the PCRJ Board!
Lindsey Coit is a leader at heart. Professionally, she's an executive at a Boston-based technology company, helping CEOs and CHROs take a data-driven approach to creating a thriving workforce. Outside of work, she's a community-builder, empath and connector. She facilitates a monthly women's group to help deepen relationships and connections within the community. She and her sister Julia also recently started a joint venture that involves cooking and facilitating deep conversation with a shared meal made over an open fire. Lindsey thrives being at the helm of community organization, and having recently moved back to Maine, she's thrilled to have the chance to bring her passion for helping others in a place that is so close to her heart. Lindsey is honored to serve on the PCRJ Board!
Nikki Dube is a student at the University of Southern Maine, graduating with her Master of Social Work. During her time at USM, she spent one year interning with Maine Inside Out, a non-profit that encourages incarcerated youth to initiate dialogue around the current oppressive justice system. While there, she witnessed the many barriers to healing that young people and their communities face. It was this experience that opened her up to understanding the power of community and connection and deepened her passion for justice and healing. In her second year at USM, she interned at the Katahdin Program of RSU14, working with youth that does not thrive in mainstream education. Practices utilized in this setting include a Restorative Learning Plan, which is a collaborative process in response to harm that includes the student, a practice that aligns with Nikki’s evolving set of personal beliefs. Nikki is a Registered Maine Guide with an appreciation for philosophy and the outdoors. She has previously worked with young people in a variety of settings, including at-risk-youth from a Native Reserve in New Brunswick, Canada, utilizing wilderness education, as well as through her Graduate Assistantship with USM running intramural sports for undergraduate and graduate students. She believes that restorative justice is a part of a progressive future that promotes true healing for all involved in harm. In her spare time, she likes to read, create art, listen to music, and juggle.
Whitney Hogan is an educator, artist, and mother. She works at Bowdoin College as the Director of Residential Education and Associate Director of Student Life. In her current role she trains and supervises the Residential Life student staff to build inclusive communities and helps oversee Bowdoin's meditation program. In both of these capacities, she puts her passion for restorative justice to work. Whitney was introduced to the power of restorative justice while working towards her Masters in Public Health from the University of Minnesota. She saw time, and time again, how circle facilitations and restorative conferences could create community and promote individual transformation and growth. Since then she has utilized restorative practices no matter the task at hand. Specifically, she is interested in how restorative practices can heal communities and individuals after acts of intentional or unintentional bias. She believes deeply that we are always one conversation away from a more just world. Whitney loves living in Maine and being outdoors and cooking good food, usually while wrangling three very active sons.
Nicole Jordan is a Master of Social Work student at the University of Southern Maine and will graduate in the Spring of 2021. She has worked as a case manager with immigrant, refugee, and asylum-seeking youth and families with Spurwink's ShifaME program and has served as an MSW intern with Preble Street's Anti-Trafficking Services program. She first came to learn about restorative justice as a social work student and found it to be a refreshing way of engaging in the process of repairing harm which embraces the complexity of human relationships. When not at school or work, Nicole enjoys spending time outside – kayaking, running, hiking, swimming, picnicking, or doing just about anything else.
Ron Sepielli’s life energies have been focused upon developing our capacity for growth, enabling healthy & constructive change, and being a catalyst for learning. He offers counsel to leaders and teams to become strong, agile, and adaptive - demonstrating the behaviors, and a growth mindset, to lead & live well in times of rapid, complex, and often harsh change. Developing healthy, engaged, well-functioning, high-performing leaders and teams, creates healthy, well-functioning, high-performing organizations, and betters the whole of our society. Engaging the very best of our human energies - intellectual, creative, emotional and spiritual energies - enables us to transform and migrate to more satisfying & healthier ways of being together in the world. His work is based on a belief adopted early in life that we humans are hard-wired with a natural ability to be resilient. This belief in our ability to find our way through the hardest – and especially those seemingly most overwhelming - of life’s challenges & experiences, is what drew him to dedicate his passion and lifetime of expertise to advancing this essential work of the Portland Center for Restorative Justice. By simply creating a safe place for people to tell their stories, often for the first time being seen, and having their voices heard, regardless of how painful, can be transformative and brings about deep healing. Increasing the likelihood that all affected/involved parties can rejoin society healthier, more whole, and contributing in more interesting, more important and more meaningful ways, has Ron feeling urgency & readiness to play a key role in bringing the PCRJ Mission to life!
David Vickrey believes in education’s transformative power for incarcerated youth and adults. David volunteers for the Creek-to-College program at the Long Creek Youth Development Center where he coordinates the partnership with Southern Maine Community College. He has worked closely with Doris Buffett’s Sunshine Lady Foundation to secure funding for the program, which offers a college credit curriculum free of charge to incarcerated students. David also served on the Board of Visitors at Long Creek, reporting to the Maine legislature on conditions at the youth detention center. Since 2019 David has been a tutor for the college program at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham. He is currently an observer of the Maine Juvenile Justice System Assessment & Reinvestment Task Force which is seeking to overhaul the state’s juvenile justice system. The search for effective prison diversion programming led to an interest in Restorative Justice. David works as a corporate finance consultant from his office in Cape Elizabeth.