SOUTH ROYALTON — The Vermont Law School is getting $3 million to establish a national restorative justice center.

The funding was announced Tuesday by Sen. Patrick Leahy. Funding for what Leahy said was the nation’s first “National Center on Restorative Justice” will be through a Department of Justice grant.

The center will involve the University of Vermont, University of San Diego, the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs and others, according to a news release from Leahy’s office. The center will interact with criminal justice professionals and others to increase their understanding of restorative justice, an approach to justice that focuses on rehabilitating offenders.

“To address the problem of mass incarceration of people in our country, we need to fundamentally rethink our approach to the justice system,” said Leahy in the statement. “By establishing a national center that will focus on engaging with the community, including our incarcerated population, we can begin to do just that.”

Vermont Law School is the only law school in America that offers a master’s degree in restorative justice, according to VLS Dean and President Thomas McHenry.

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