Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Area News

April 8, 2013

VORP assists victims and offenders

CROSSVILLE — The Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program (better known as VORP) is a restorative justice approach that brings offenders face-to-face with the victims of their crimes and the assistance of a trained mediator. The crime is personalized as the offender learns the human consequences of their actions. Victims, who are generally overwhelmed by the criminal justice system, have the opportunity to speak their minds and feelings that help contribute to the healing process. In addition, a legal contract is developed between the victim and offender that must be approved by the court.

Offenders take a meaningful responsibility for their actions by mediating a restitution agreement with the victim to restore monetary or symbolic losses. It may consist of a payment plan, work for the victim, community service or anything else that creates a sense of justice between the victim and offender. More than 95 percent of the mediated cases result in a written restitution agreement; 90 percent of these agreements are completed within one year. On the other hand, the actual rate of payment of court-ordered restitution (nationally) is typically only 20-30 percent.  

VORP organizations have been mediating meaningful justice between crime victims and offenders for more than 20 years. The VORP Community Center in Cumberland County was established in 1989 and was the second such agency in the state of Tennessee. There are currently 10 other VORPS in Tennessee including agencies in Knoxville, Nashville and Chattanooga. In addition, nearly 300 VORP organizations are serving the United States of America and more than 1,000 are in other countries in the world. 

Joe Gittings is the current president of the VORP Mediation Center of Cumberland County. He is a native of Pittsburgh, PA, graduated from the University of Pittsburgh but spent most of his life living in Massachusetts. His business life was spent in sales engineering positions in the Specialty Steel and Fluid Power Industry.

Prior to moving to Tennessee, Joe and his wife Joan lived in Cape Cod enjoying fishing, boating clamming and catching a few lobsters. They now live in Pleasant Hill, where Joe met founder and then VORP President Leonard Stark who introduced him to the mediation process. Joe became a member of the VORP Board of Directors in 2011 and was elected to take Starks place as president when Len retired in 2012. Joe’s enthusiasm for social justice and belief in VORP’S “restorative justice” mission will help continue the challenges this agency faces for 2013 and beyond.

The VORP Mediation Center of Cumberland County has made a lasting impression on the community for the past 24 years. They have provided free, neutral and accessible volunteer mediation service for more than 8,000 cases. Please keep in mind that each case requires at least two people, so in reality, more than 16,000 citizens of Cumberland County have received benefit. In addition, more than $300,000 has been returned to victims through restitution.

Rita Young has been the executive director of Cumberland County VORP for more than 10 years. She has made a lasting contribution to the community as well as the entire State of Tennessee. She has gained much respect from the office of the Tennessee Supreme Court, many Cumberland County attorneys, prosecutors and General Sessions Court judges. She has obtained funding from United Fund, city of Crossville, local churches, individuals and other grants, as well free office space from Cumberland County at 584 Highway 70 East.

Other VORP Board members are Vice President Ken Steadman, Treasurer Karen Cole, Secretary Leroy Hammond, Bert Adams, Jon Goodwin, and Andrea Van Rekom. Please call 484-0972 or e-mail vorp.Crossville@gmail.com to learn more about becoming a volunteer mediator or any additional information.

1
Text Only
Area News
  • Shop tax free this weekend

    With the return to school right around the corner and Cumberland County students set to return to classrooms Aug. 6, Tennesseans are reminded they can buy certain items without paying sales tax Aug. 1 through Aug. 3.

    July 30, 2014

  • state park bath house.jpg Historic CMSP bathhouse gets new use with renovation

    When a new pool was constructed at Cumberland Mountain State Park in the 1980s, the beach area was converted to a quiet place to watch the water and the bath house was boarded up.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cole dismissed from teaching position

    The Cumberland County Board of Education voted 8-1 to dismiss tenured special education teacher Stephanie Cole, who remains at the Cumberland County Jail without bond charged with the July 20 fatal shooting of Louis Tammaro Jr.

    July 29, 2014

  • Crash sends one to jail, cyclist to UT

    A crash involving a motorcycle and a pickup truck resulted in one man being flown to a regional trauma center and the second man being arrested after he fled the scene, Crossville Police reported.

    July 29, 2014

  • County to include more meeting info on web site

    Cumberland County commissioners approved a change in the commission's rules which requires the full package of materials supplied to the commissioners to be posted on the county's web site.

    July 29, 2014

  • jobless june.jpg County jobless rate up for June

    County unemployment rates for June 2014 show the rate increased in all 95 counties of Tennessee. In Cumberland County, the jobless rate rose from 7.4 percent in May to 8.3 percent for June.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • lver-greg morris.jpg New veterans rep joins Career Center staff

    The Tennessee Career Center in Crossville now has more resources available to assist veterans seeking employment. The center recently hired Gregory Morris as a local veterans employment representative (LVER) to work with both unemployed veterans as well as employers seeking job applicants.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Richard Lemert.jpg Lemert pays visit to Crossville

    Richard Milo Lemert, (left) great nephew of Milo Lemert of Crossville, recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, is pictured with L.T. Thurman Jr. It was Richard Lemert's first visit to Crossville and during his brief stay, he stopped by the Milo Lemert Building on Main St. and viewed the plaque that was placed in honor of his great uncle. Milo Lemert was married to Nell Snodgrass of Crossville and was killed in action on their first wedding anniversary. Thurman's father, Litton T. Thurman Sr., received the Distinguished Service Cross in the same WWI battle that Lemert was awarded the nation's highest honor. Richard Lemert resides in Raleigh, NC, and is planning to attend the Medal of Honor Convention in Knoxville Sept. 10-13.
     

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • IMG_2558.jpg Understanding the structure of addiction and recovery

    Bradford Health Services hosted a free workshop Friday for area agencies on the structure of addiction and recovery. Robbie Keeble who is recovery liaison for Bradford, was the featured speaker. With rates of substance abuse so prevalent in the Crossville area, several local agencies arranged to instruct participants on how addiction works in the brain and the process that those struggling with addiction need to take in order to recover successfully. There were 94 attendees in all, including several social service agencies, health care providers, law enforcement personnel, businesses and concerned citizens. If you are interested in attending or hosting a future training on matters related to substance abuse, contact Bradford Health Services at (931) 528-6803.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • TMSAA rules get one-year try out

    Changes are coming for the elementary sports programs next year, with a 6-3 vote of the Cumberland County Board of Education. That vote of support of recommendations from the athletic committee was met with concerns from board members that the move towards county-wide rules and regulations was an attempt to move toward middle school teams.

    July 28, 2014 1 Video

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014