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Center for Restorative Justice

 

Reimagining Justice in West Virginia

A Virtual Conference       November 19-20, 2021

At the Reimagining Justice in West Virginia virtual conference, you’ll hear from seasoned practitioners and restorative justice newcomers alike as we consider what justice is and what it requires of us. You’ll be inspired and better prepared to apply the values and concepts of restorative justice, and you’ll make new and lasting connections so that, together, we can create more safe, just, and equitable communities across West Virginia.

To learn more about the schedule for the Reimagining Justice in West Virginia virtual conference or to register for the event, click the button below.

Register Today

What is Restorative Justice?

  • A set of convictions and practices for addressing harm, RJ asks questions like:
    • What needs are created when harm occurs in a community?
    • What kinds of obligations emerge?
    • How can wrongdoers be held accountable and brokenness repaired?
  • An ethos—an intentional, all-encompassing way of seeing and being—in which trust, friendship, equity, vulnerability, joy, and the flourishing of all are its visible features.

Our Vision: 

To participate in the difficult, joyful, necessary work of healing hearts, minds, bodies, and communities through restorative justice convictions and practices.

Our Mission:

To learn and to teach, so that our campus and our community partners might live the convictions and practices of restorative justice and invite others to do the same.

More:

The work of the CRJ can be effective in many settings where there is brokenness, helping stakeholders imagine and implement ways of dealing with harm and trauma that resist the impulse toward retribution and punishment. For example, our work in schools can help transform systems (and minds and hearts) that often see struggling children as “problems” to whom ineffectual punitive measures are meted out disproportionately, if unwittingly, along racial and ethnic lines. Similarly, we want to create spaces for families and communities impacted by addiction or incarceration to learn skills that can help create the conditions for healing—for restoration, reconciliation, and mutual responsibility.

From the destruction left in the wake of opioid addiction to the decimation of neighborhoods caused by generational poverty and generations of harm created by extractive industries, there is work to be done to restore life and health and a hopeful future. But for all that can sometimes seem demoralizing about these challenges, this can be joyful, purposeful work! And it is already going on. The CRJ at WVWC is joining with and learning from groups and organizations already committed to restorative justice for persons and communities across our region.

Who We Are

Co-Directors

Dr. Debra Dean Murphy

Dr. Debra Dean Murphy (she/her) is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at West Virginia Wesleyan College. She teaches a wide range of courses, including Women and Religion, Environmental Theology, and God and Globalization. Dr. Murphy has written two books, numerous articles, essays, and book reviews, and currently writes a regular column for the national publication The Christian Century. She likes to refinish furniture, listen to podcasts when she runs, cook for family, friends, and students, and incorporate meditation practices and restorative circle processes in her classrooms.

Dr. Jess Scott

Dr. Jess Scott (she/they) is Associate Professor of Gender Studies at West Virginia Wesleyan College. She is also organist at First United Methodist Church in Clarksburg, WV. Dr. Scott has degrees in music performance (University of Illinois), social science, and gender studies (University of Cape Town). She writes and publishes about gender, sexuality, intersectionality, spatial politics, and racial justice. Her pet pigs are the subject of her first children’s book, Miss Penelope Thundertoes Changes her Mind. Her fiercest desire is to love her country into a less punitive way of engaging with the entire world.

Our 2021-2022 Fellows

Rayna Heckman

My name is Rayna Heckman (she/her), and I am a senior at West Virginia Wesleyan College, pursuing a degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice with an Honors minor. Outside of the classroom, I am on the track team and a member of the Honors Program Student Advisory Committee. While I spend a lot of my time getting ahead on work or running, I enjoy hiking, yoga, CrossFit, reading, listening to music/podcasts, and lifting weights. While I was introduced to Restorative Justice within a formal class setting, I hope my involvement with The Center for Restorative Justice at West Virginia Wesleyan College will help the healing, inclusive practices of restorative justice extend beyond the textbooks and branch out into the everyday life of each person on campus in even the smallest of ways.

Malaika Kimmons

My name is Malaika Kimmons (she/her) and  I am from Apex, North Carolina. I am a senior at West Virginia Wesleyan College, majoring in Biochemistry with an Honors minor. I also play on the Women’s Basketball team. Along with being a student- athlete, I am involved with a variety of organizations, including the Black Student Union, where I currently serve as president; the Benzene Ring Chemistry Club; and the WE LEAD Team Coordinator for the Gender Equality team. During the summer of 2020 I completed an internship at Duke University. I consider myself a big kid at heart! I am very excited for the opportunity to be an inaugural fellow of the CRJ and look forward to the great work we hope to accomplish now and in the future.

Our Fall Semester 2021 Interns

Devin Taylor

My name is Devin Taylor (he/him) and I’m from Prince George’s County, Maryland. I’m a senior at West Virginia  Wesleyan College, where I run track, play football, and am a brother of Alpha  Phi Alpha Fraternity. I enjoy singing and listening to various kinds of music, playing basketball and watching the Carolina Panthers. My favorite food is chicken marsala and one fun fact about me: I cannot touch my toes—it’s sad! My work this semester with the Center for Restorative Justice will involve the partnerships we are building with the Center for Community Engagement and the Counseling Center. I am interested in holding circle conversations with students about challenges like perfectionism and feeling homesick.

Nathan White

My name is Nathan White (he/him) from Camden, West Virginia, and I’m a fifth year triple major in Gender Studies, Social Justice Studies, and Environmental Studies. I’m involved in multiple organizations on campus, including WE LEAD, Wesleyan Service Scholars, and Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity. I like watching anime when I have free time, as well as hiking with my brothers. I also did tick ecology research during the summer of 2021. I’m interested in restorative justice because I believe it can create the system of mutual respect and understanding required to break cycles of harm.

Our Partners:

Our Advisory Board:

  • Debra Dean Murphy, chair
  • Tamara Bailey
  • Cynthia Brissey
  • Molly Clever
  • Wilson Harvey
  • Katie Loudin
  • Chett Pritchett
  • Jessica Scott
  • Dedriell Taylor
  • Loretta Young
  • Travis Zimmerman

Our 2021-2022 Fellows:

  • Rayna Heckman
  • Malaika Kimmons

Our Fall 2021 Interns:

  • Devin Taylor
  • Nathan White

Other Projects We Believe In:

Print Resources:

Ways to Give:

TBD

Contact Us:

Center for Restorative Justice

59 College Ave, Buckhannon, WV 26201

Phone(304) 473-8000

Projects & Events

Projects

  • Reimagining Justice in West Virginia: A Conference on Restorative Practices. November 19-20.
  • Restorative circle processes with unsheltered/unhoused persons associated with the Homeless Services Initiative of the United Way of Harrison and Doddridge Counties
  • Regular circle conversations on our campus with students, faculty, staff, Greek organizations, sports teams, service organizations, and more
  • Joint Restorative Justice Conference with Davis & Elkins College, Spring 2022 (more info soon)
  • K-12 Teachers & Staff Circle Conversations (more info soon)
  • Circle Training Events 2-3 times a year with nationally-known facilitator Kay Pranis 

Contact Dr. Debra Murphy at murphy_d@wvwc.edu

Resources

West Virginia Restorative Justice Registry

Appalachian Prison Book Project

  • Appalachian Prison Book Project (APBP)
  • Morgantown, WV
  • Email: appalachianpbp@gmail.com
  • Website: appalachianprisonbookproject.org
  • The Appalachian Prison Book Project (APBP) is a nonprofit organization based in Morgantown, WV. APBP sends free books to people imprisoned in six states in the Appalachian region: West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. APBP also facilitates book clubs inside prisons, hosts educational forums, creates community, and works to end the crisis of mass incarceration.

Wheeling University

  • Leaders/representatives in this organization: Hadi Sasmita, S.J.; Campus Minister and Resident Minister at Wheeling University
  • Wheeling, WV
  • Contact information: ihssj@wheeling.edu; 304-243-2635
  • Any additional information: Presenting and facilitating restorative practices among students, athletic teams, student leaders and other groups on campus. Working with a small restorative justice team to provide some healing in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.

Essential Change Consultant Services

  • Essential Change Consultant Services
  • Leaders/representatives in this organization: Alyssa Mick and Carrie Graff
  • New Cumberland, WV
  • Contact Information: Alyssa.mick@gmail.com; 681-522-5353
  • Additional Information: Restorative justice training, facilitation, and consultant services. Specializing in school readiness assessments, training, and restorative conference facilitation. Victim-offender dialogues. Family group conferencing.

Cathy Grewe- Wood County Schools

  • Wood County Schools Student Services
  • Leaders/representatives: Cathay Grewe
  • Wood County, WV
  • Contact Information: cgrewe@k12.wv.us; 304-420-9663; 304-482-3505
  • Additional Information: Training schools and teachers in restorative practices

Americans for Prosperity

  • Americans for Prosperity
  • Leaders/representatives: Jason Huffman, West Virginia State Director
  • Charleston, WV
  • Contact information: (304) 859-3403; jhuffman@afphq.org
  • Any additional information: Through broad-based grassroots outreach, Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is driving long-term solutions to the country’s biggest problems. AFP activists engage friends and neighbors on key issues and encourage them to take an active role in building a culture of mutual benefit, where people succeed by helping one another. We recruit and unite concerned citizens in 35 states to advance policies that will help people improve their lives.