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
  • trail 1.jpg Working on the trail

    Volunteers were out Saturday morning constructing a trail at Meadow Park Lake. This was phase one of trail building, explained John Conrad, Crossville Trails organizer, with volunteers clipping twigs and branches and raking a path. Bruce Whitehead, George Schlenker, Lee Skinner and Pat Schudiske rake a path about three feet wide. Later, larger obstacles, such as fallen trees, will be removed, and topsoil removed on the trail to aid in trail maintenance. The trail will be about 1.5 miles in length.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Panel waives ticket charge for boosters

    The building and grounds committee approved a request to waive a portion of the ticket fees for a school sports booster group planning a truck and tractor pull at the Cumberland County Community Complex, but the committee cautioned the group it would take action by the full Cumberland County Commission to relieve them of the obligation to return 10 percent of the gate charge to the county.

    April 23, 2014

  • Jury seated in Batty slaying case

    A jury plus alternates has been seated and began hearing evidence in the trial of John Russell Giles of Hampshire Lane, Fairfield Glade, charged in connection with the Nov. 7 death of Kimberly Ann Batty, 58, of Dovenshire Dr., also Fairfield Glade.

    April 23, 2014

  • New site sought for convenience center

    An expansion at Colinx and the improvement of a city street will require Cumberland County to move a convenience center. The city of Crossville has proposed a site in the same general area, but commissioners on the county's building and grounds committee were concerned about the cost to make the site suitable for a convenience center and the proximity of the Little Obed River.

    April 23, 2014

  • Hwy. 70 crash.jpg CCHS student dies in car crash

    Crossville Police have identified the victim of a two-vehicle collision that occurred Tuesday morning on Hwy. 70 W at the intersection of Dillon St. as a sophomore at Cumberland County High School.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • IMG_0783.JPG Visitors center now open to the public

    A ten-year effort to establish a gateway to the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, as well as to point tourists and visitors to the many other area parks, historical sites and points of interest, concluded Thursday as the community gathered with officials from the city of Crossville, Cumberland County, the Crossville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce and the National Park Service to dedicate the Crossville-Cumberland County: Gateway to the Big South Fork Visitors Center on River Otter Dr.

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Shots fired during standoff over domestic situation

    Chickens were killed, threats of bodily harm made and at least three shots fired in the presence of a Cumberland County sheriff's deputy during a domestic dispute between an uncle and nephew.

    April 22, 2014

  • Jury selection set in Batty slaying

    Jury selections were scheduled to begin today in the trial of John Russell Giles of Hampshire Lane, Fairfield Glade, charged in connection with the Nov. 7 death of Kimberly Ann Batty, 58, of Dovenshire Dr., also Fairfield Glade.

    April 22, 2014

  • Thoughts for this holy time of Easter

    The first performance of George Friderick Handel's masterpiece, "Messiah," was given in Dublin, Ireland, on April 13, 1742, where it was well received. When it was performed in England there were criticisms of the music, performers and location of the performance. It was held that the subject matter was too exalted to perform in an opera house, but rather it should be performed in church. Wouldn't it be interesting if we knew how many times this magnificent music has been performed in the past 272 years?

    April 22, 2014

  • Joe Goodwin.JPG Warden Joe Goodwin remains a true original

    The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency celebrates its 65th anniversary this year, and Crossville's Joe Goodwin is part of that living history.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Kangaroo Rescued From Swimming Pool Raw: 3 American Doctors Killed in Afghanistan Raw: Obama Arrives at State Dinner in Tokyo Raw: Obama Plays Soccer With Japanese Robot Raw: Obama Visits Meiji Shrine in Tokyo Stars Talk Guns N' Roses at Golden Gods New Pictures of Ship That Sank in 1888 Oregon Gay Marriage Ban Goes to Court SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye'
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

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