Welcome to the website for Central
Virginia Restorative Justice. We are a non-profit group that builds community
in the wake of crime by ushering victims, offenders, and other affected people
through respectful processes of accountability and repair. Above all else, our
work is guided by the principles and values of restorative justice.
Here, you'll find a brief account of who
we are, what we do, why we do it, and how you can participate. We look
forward to hearing from you soon!
Follow CVRJ's activities with our annual newsletter! You can read along here.
Why Restorative Justice?
A typical response to crime is to find out what law was broken, who did it, and what they deserve. Though this reponse can be useful in some ways, it is inadequate in other ways. It fails to actively address how crime can be destructive to a web of relationships, to a neighborhood, and to a broader community. It also falls short of addressing the sometimes acute needs of victims who have been directly harmed by the crime.
Restorative justice strives for an accountability that builds relationships rather than destroying them. To that end, it places a strong focus on victim needs, affirms community connections, and looks for ways to engage the offender in constructive ways.
(Every society has laws to regulate behavior between people. In some ways, laws provide us minimum guidelines for living together safely. Yet when someone breaks a law, that person violates not only a rule, but often a relationship or another person (the victim, families, or the community in general). Ultimately, it's the violation of another person that is the real harm.)
Our program applies the principles and practice of restorative justice in our community's response to crime. How do we do this? By holding offenders constructively accountable. By addressing victims' needs. By seeking support from families and a concerned community. Learn more about our processes here.
The program has come a long way since 2000 when the first group of people -- about 170 community members -- gathered in Charlottesville to explore restorative responses to crime. With the help of the region's Criminal Justice Planner, a Task Force formed to examine restorative justice options. In 2002, with the funding of local foundations, the program became housed at OAR-Jefferson Area Community Corrections. A coordinator was hired and the first juvenile cases came late in the year.
Today, program activities have expanded considerably. Central Virginia Restorative Justice now serves over two hundred clients annually and receives referrals from a variety of sources.