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.

Who We Are

  • Co-Directors

    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 (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

    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.

    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 2022 Intern

    Charles Malone
    A native of Conyers, GA, Charles is a psychology major and a member of the Wesleyan Track & Field team. He loves being active in all kinds of sports and enjoys hanging out with friends.

  • Our Former Interns

    Devin Taylor
    Devin (he/him) is from Prince George’s County, Maryland. As a senior at West Virginia Wesleyan College, he runs track, plays football, and is a brother of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. He enjoys singing and listening to various kinds of music, playing basketball and watching the Carolina Panthers. His favorite food is chicken marsala and one fun fact about him is he cannot touch his toes—it’s sad! His work with the Center for Restorative Justice involves the partnerships we are building with the Center for Community Engagement and the Counseling Center. He’s interested in holding circle conversations with students about challenges like perfectionism and feeling homesick.

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

    Jakob Spruce
    Jakob is from Charleston, WV and is a Technical Theatre major with minors in Gender Studies, English, Musical Theatre, and Honors. In his time at Wesleyan, Jakob has worked as the costume shop manager, where he designs shows for the theatre department. He uses restorative justice and theatrical intimacy practices in the theatre world to create safe and inclusive work environments to allow for positive, collaborative artistic expression.

    Victoria Marcus
    Victoria is from Frankford, WV. She is a Writing major with a minor in Religious Studies. She hopes to attend Divinity school in the near future and pursue a career as a professor of theology at a school that feels as welcoming and kind as West Virginia Wesleyan. In the meantime, she enjoys nature, walking, and embroidery above all else.

  • Projects & Events
    • 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.
  • 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
  • How We Define Ourselves
    • 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.

  • Our Partners
  • Other Projects We Believe In

    Waugh Law and Mediation

    • Leaders/representatives in this organization: Brenda Waugh
    • Charles Town, West Virginia
    • Contact Information: waugh@brendawaugh.com304-728-3660
    • Additional Information: Restorative justice training and program design and implementation for court systems and educational institutions. Facilitation of Victim-offender dialogues, family group conferencing, re-entry circles, and community building circles.
  • Print Resources
  • Contact Us

    Center for Restorative Justice
    59 College Ave, Buckhannon, WV 26201
    Phone(304) 473-8000

Videos from the conference can be viewed here:  

Reimagining Justice in WV: A Keynote conversation with Howard Zehr

Reimagining Justice in WV: “What is accountability?” with Kay Pranis

Reimagining Justice in WV: Afternoon keynote with Ash Lee Henderson