Restorative Arlington

EIN: 87-3950513

Mission Statement

We create connection, belonging, and safety for all community members. We:

  • Build capacity to implement and use restorative practices by providing knowledge, space, and tools;
  • Strengthen our community through practices that build mutual understanding among people;
  • Empower people who have been harmed to exercise their voice and choice;
  • Promote healing, accountability, repair and restoration;
  • Create space for all people to meet their needs with dignity, compassion, and courage

Program Summary

The Heart of Safety Restorative Justice Conferencing Program (HOS) is our primary programmatic offering. Through HOS, we partner with community members to respond to wrongdoing using a people-centered and trauma-responsive approach. The HOS conferencing process enables everyone affected by an incident of harm to understand what happened and why, and to collaboratively determine a path forward. Our HOS facilitators support people who have been harmed as they exercise their voice and determine how best to meet their needs for healing and repair. Likewise, facilitators support people who have been responsible for harm in taking meaningful accountability. HOS takes cases by referral from court system partners, such as the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney, and community members. Court referrals to HOS are designed to serve as a diversion for youth and transition-age adults, with a focus on ending criminalization of Black, Indigenous and other people of color.  

In addition to HOS, we also offer opportunities to learn about and experience restorative justice practices that increase belonging, share experiences, and engage on difficult topics with dignity, compassion and courage. These include community building circles, basic circle training in partnership with George Mason’s Carter School, and resources and events shared in our newsletter.

Impact Statement

Our Heart of Safety Restorative Justice Conferencing Program makes justice, healing, and safety accessible for people and communities who want to choose a supportive, culturally sensitive option to address harm outside of the current court system. The restorative justice conferencing process centers the needs and voices of people who have been harmed and creates opportunities for repair and healing that the legal system simply cannot provide. The process also enables people who have been responsible for harm to understand the impact of their actions and to take responsibility for making amends in ways that honor the needs of the person(s) they harmed. We treat all participants as valued members of the community and have found that as the restorative conferencing process repairs individual relationships, its ripple effects extend to families and the community as a whole. Extensive research reflects what we have experienced: restorative justice conferencing leads to meaningful accountability, more victim satisfaction and greater reductions in recidivism than adversarial court processes.       

Evaluations of our community-building circles consistently show that participants experience a strong sense of connection, and that they feel deeply heard. Our circles have also provided safe spaces for brave conversations about issues such as racial justice.

What ways can the public get involved?

How are charitable dollars spent? Where does my donation go?

Your investment shows solidarity and support for our work and our community. Donations support access to justice and safety for community members who choose Restorative Justice Conferencing in lieu of traditional court prosecution, program innovation, and the systemic peace-building work required for a paradigm shift from punishment to healing. For example, $6,000 supports one Heart of Safety Restorative Justice Conferencing case.    

In alignment with our commitment to centering community voice, we only accept unrestricted donations. This ensures that we can be responsive to emerging needs of our community partners.

Information provided March 2024