By Kelly Ryan
WOODLAND (CBS13) — Dan Walker was a lead chef in some of the top restaurants around the country for more than 27 years, but he fell on hard times.
“I was actually sleeping in a tent,” he said.
Now, thanks in part to a Yolo County program and the owners of a cafe, he’s getting a second chance.
He was homeless for more almost a year when he ran into Marco and Jennifer Fuoco, the owners of Guinevere’s Café and Bistro in Downtown Woodland.
It was around that same time Dan was in a courtroom after a nonviolent criminal offense and unable to pay roughly $1,400 in fines. That’s when the judge suggested a new program—the Yolo County D.A.’s Homeless Restorative Justice Program.
“We’re trying to do is take the homeless population out of the court system and focus on social services to try to change their condition,” said Chris Bulkeley with the district attorney’s office.
That includes working with a social worker, getting access to mental health services, drug rehabilitation and interacting with a group of community members, getting a home, and a job.
As the third participant in the program, Walker’s grateful he was accepted and grateful to now be employed full time. Guinevere’s worked with the DA’s office as Dan got into the program.
“Everything in this program is not a punishment for my crime, but it’s to help me better myself, and that’s what I’m amazed at,” he said.
The Yolo County District Attorney’s Office is seeking community volunteers for the Neighborhood Court diversion program. Neighborhood Court seeks to address low level crimes through community-based solutions to swiftly redress the harm caused by these offenses outside of the traditional criminal justice system. Neighborhood Court utilizes restorative justice concepts which identify crime as acts that cause harm done to people and communities.
Our volunteer Panelists represent the community's needs, interests, and perspectives with respect to the crime committed. Volunteers meet directly with the Offender in a face-to-face facilitated conference. During the conference, volunteers 1) name the harms the community experiences as a result of the crime, 2) ask questions of the Offender to understand the circumstances around the crime, and 3) and decide together with the Offender the steps that are necessary to make the harm right (as much as possible). This face-to-face dialogue is designed to encourage accountability on the part of the Offender and to arrive at the steps necessary to remedy the situation as fully as possible.
Neighborhood Court's conferencing process focuses on the harms of each individual offense; these can be self-inflicted harms to the individual offender, harms inflicted upon a direct victim, or negative impacts to the larger community. Especially in cases dealing with alcohol consumption, the potential for self-harm is stark. This research paper, written as part of a Neighborhood Court Agreement, illustrates the program's emphasis on education as a means of helping offenders attain insight to better understand their issues and to prevent repeat offenses.
Upcoming Meetings & Panelist Training Dates
Please Download & Share our December Events Flyer (or click on the image to download)!
Contact Name: Nicole Kirkaldy, Volunteer Coordinator
Cost/Free: Events are provided free of charge to volunteers
Registration Deadline: Continuous
Volunteers must complete the application process in order to attend one of the training sessions. Applications may be downloaded on this page and submitted via email.
Neighborhood Court is a restorative justice program initiated by the Yolo County District Attorney’s office in cooperation with the Davis, UC Davis, and West Sacramento Police Departments. Neighborhood Court seeks to address nonviolent and low level crimes through community-based solutions to swiftly redress the harm caused by these offenses outside of the traditional criminal justice system. The purpose of this program is to address criminal violations that impact the quality of life of our neighborhoods.
Neighborhood Court utilizes restorative justice concepts which identify crime as acts that cause harm done to people and communities. Neighborhood Court emphasizes the offender repairing that harm done to the individual and the community. Another goal of Neighborhood Court is for all parties to understand the root cause of the crime so that the victim, community and offender can move forward in a positive direction. Neighborhood Court strengthens neighborhoods impacted by criminal activity in four ways:
Neighborhood Court is victim centered by placing emphasis on the victim’s needs. It is focused on offenders making things right to the greatest extent possible with their victims. Offenders pay restitution to victims who have suffered monetary losses or property damage.
Neighborhood Court creates an atmosphere of inclusion and responsibility by providing a direct role for residents to oversee the resolution of offenses in their city. When appropriate the offender will complete community service that goes directly to improving conditions in the area impacted by the crime.
Neighborhood Court offers offenders a second chance by avoiding a criminal conviction on their record upon successful completion of the program. Offenders are also restored by helping them understand the consequence of their actions and by giving them the opportunity to pay back the community they harmed through community service.
Neighborhood Court educates offenders by helping them understand why they committed the offense which led to their current situation. Offenders can be educated in alcohol use, anger management, and how to be considerate to their community, as well as other topics designed to change or modify their behavior.
For more information on this program email email@example.com or call (530) 681-6323 for additional information.
DCTV In The Studio - Neighborhood Court
Understanding how Neighborhood Courts operate and how they differ from traditional courts and Yolo County's experiments with Neighborhood Courts. Lin Weaver hosts Christopher Bulkeley, Yolo County District Attorney, Katie Reilly, Volunteer Panelist, and Manny Madeiros, Volunteer Panelist.
All downloads are in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. Please click here to get the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Download Printable Brochure
Download Neighborhood Court Panelist Application
Download Neighborhood Court Facilitator Application
Description of the Facilitator's Duties and Qualifications
Description of Panelist's Duties and Qualifications
Frequently Asked Questions
Menu of Options (All-County)
NHC Qualifying Offenses
Offender Eligibility Determination
Participant Legal Rights
For best results, please open the Neighborhood Court Panelist and Facilitator Applications with an Adobe Reader. You can download a PDF version of the Panelist and Facilitator Applications by right-clicking the above link and selecting "Save Target As..." (Internet Explorer), "Save Link As..." (Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox), or "Download Linked File As..." (Apple Safari). Neighborhood Court Applications are limited in the amount of content they can hold. If there is more information that you would like to include with your application, please provide it in the email as an attachment. All applications and attachments can be emailed to Neighborhood Court at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any problems with the application, please contact Mike Works at (530) 406-4518.
For More Information:
If you would like additional information about Neighborhood Court, please call (530) 681-6323, or email email@example.com.